Held Captive by a Story

There are certain stories I can’t get out of my head. They’re rather insidious, laying eggs in my brain like some sort of Lovecraftian monster redesigned by the unholy lovechild of H. R. Giger and Steve Carell. The eggs hatch and latch onto my various creativity glands and refuse to let go.

And thus there are certain stories I return to over and over again.

I wrote a novel… oh, gosh, years ago. The rough draft of the novel is about as old as my first child.

Now I feel old.

Why do I hurt myself like this?

Anyway, I wrote that novel a long time ago. The rough draft wasn’t great, but the characters and story were good enough to warrant another draft.

And another.

And another.

Man, this novel has seen so many drafts. Characters changed drastically. The first fifty pages were entirely lopped off. We added a character for balance.

We. The story wasn’t content to hold just my brain hostage. It assaulted my wife’s creativity glands, too. She got in on the process. She read each draft, critiqued, encouraged. (Though we still have a long-running jocular argument about the title of the thing.)

I sent the novel in to various publishers and such. It almost always got through the first layer of rejections, but would eventually be sent back. You won’t find it on any shelves at a Barnes and Noble or Booktacular. (I don’t think Booktacular is a store, but it probably should be.)

I’ve got numerous short stories that have been rejected and never seen the light of day after that. So many stories have flitted through my head and out through my fingertips into computer screens that never really bother me again. But this novel? Maybe it’s because it’s my first, and you never forget your first. Maybe it’s because it really is something special.

But it won’t leave me alone.

I’m constantly trotting out the idea of tackling it again for one more revision! I toss the protagonist around in my head all the time. (Unfortunately, he’s the weakest link in the whole thing. We even mapped out a revision that would remove him entirely at one point. We think we know what’s needed, but I need to sit down and do it.)

How about you? What worlds of your own creations suck you into their gravity wells, never to release you? Do you try to escape, or give in to them?

And do they lay eggs in your brain, too?

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