Sunday, January 15, 2012

On foreseeing tragedy....

I abandoned my writing for the month of December to enjoy the Christmas season with my family, friends, and community.  It was a joyous and busy time. I had altogether too much fun and way too many chocolates. 
 
I'd planned to get back to my writing once the New Year hit and the kids and grandkids went back to their own caves.  However, I hadn't counted on having to use the entire first week of January to catch up on things like bill-paying, housecleaning, undecorating, laundry, and grocery shopping.

What I'm saying is: I'm quite far behind in readying the sequel to THE TRAZ for publication.  I promised my fans a Spring 2012 release, but winter is just flying by!

For the past week, I've been reading through the manuscript, correcting errors, improving my writing, deleting the extraneous, and other such fun things.  I'm also trying to settle on a title, design the cover in my head, and line up authors and reviewers willing to read the novel and write me little promotional blurbs.

Things were going along lickety-split and tickety-boo (despite being hectic) until last night when I came to the part in my novel where a couple excitedly announces they are pregnant.  My heart fell to my stomach.  My breathing almost stopped--because, although I'd forgotten that announcement scene, I clearly remembered the tragedy that's going to strike eight years from now...in Book 4 of the BackTracker series.

That they were so excited about the baby, so in love with it, so devoted to each other.  When I'd written this scene, I, like them, hadn't know that in a few short years....



I became incredibly sad.  I wanted to rewrite my story.  I wanted to make the future better for them.  It was something I could so easily do.

I felt a bit God-like and wondered if God too, felt pain about what was going to happen in our lives.  Did He ever want to rewrite our futures before we got there?  I wondered what it would be like to be a true fortuneteller.  Would I want to be one?  Would I want all my todays coloured by what I knew was going to happen tomorrow?  I thought about how this works both ways. 

I keep going with the BackTracker series because I know things are going to work out well for Katrina...eventually--at least most things will.  If I knew in real life that things would all work out okay in the end, would it make my troubles seem more manageable?

Then I thought of what I do know about my future...I'm going to die...

And then I realized it was 3:00 a.m and I ought to go to sleep because such thoughts become rambling and incoherent when entertained by a sleep-deprived, imaginative, novelistic mind...

p.s. the title for the sequel to The Traz will be "BackTracker"


Eileen Schuh, Canadian writer
www.eileenschuh.com

14 comments:

Kristi Helvig said...

My hubby and I frequently have metaphysical discussions about things like this, because it always brings up interesting points. Ultimately, I believe in the "there are no accidents" philosophy. Anything that happens had a purpose in happening.

I was devastated by a miscarriage some years ago, but if I hadn't had one, I wouldn't have found out about a medical problem that I had. I took medication during my 2nd pregnancy and successfully had my son, who would not be here if I hadn't had that miscarriage. If you had told me at the time that the miscarriage had a purpose, I would have said that was crazy, but it was true--and my amazing 7-yo is proof.

Eileen Schuh: said...

What an awesome story, Kristi. It strikes close to home for me. My mother miscarried a few months before conceiving me--I wouldn't have existed if it had not been for that tragedy.

And it was a tragedy to her at the time it happened...she wanted that baby so much and had tried for a long time to get pregnant.

I'm perhaps not as benevolent as the universe is, when it comes to tragedies in my novels. Sometimes us authors just stick such things in to make our readers cry!

I try to include redeeming factors, but sometimes...life just sucks. For no good reason other than to sell books! lol

Eileen Schuh: said...

p.s. Kristi, your name is entered in my draw for a Kindle.

Gloria Ferris Mystery Writer said...

Like you, Eileen, I "squandered" December with family, discarding my writing for reality. Half of January is over and I'm just starting to get back into it. Perhaps you're like me and work better with a deadline - I'm betting you'll get everything done on time!
Gloria

Eileen Schuh: said...

Thanks, for the support, Gloria. I'm doing my best to catch up! Your name, to, is going into my draw for the kindle. Good luck!

Eileen Schuh: said...

p.s. don't those chocolates up top look just so...yummy?

Cassam said...

What a power to have to write the future for your characters.I asked an author whether she felt bad when she brought hardship or tragedy to the subjects of her book and she said certainly not it was great fun.
Usually it's the middle of the night when I start to think of loved ones not here anymore and how many years I have left myself ,not good for a decents nights sleep.

Eileen Schuh: said...

Thanks for visiting, Cassam. Yes, the concept of death is quite bizarre, isn't it?

Your name, too, is now entered in my draw.

Jim Szpajcher said...

Kristi's comment resonates very strongly with me, when she posits that "there are no accidents". Personal experience seems to support the position that, on some level, every event in our lives is known in advance in some etherial way. Our living through the event makes it "real", locks it in, on some metaphysical plane.

In regards to fore-knowing dark events in the future for one's characters, I am reminded of L.E.Modesitt's advice to writers: "Punish your characters." My challenge in working with that dictum is one of the larger factors in why I do not aspire to be a powerful novelist: I have no drive, at this time, to bear the pain needed to create literary excellence. Feeling someone else's pain, when reading their work, hurts enough, as it is.

Viktor Frankl wrote that sometimes we have no choice in life but to endure, knowing that when all else is taken from us, we still have the right to choose the attitude we will embrace to face our fate. Unless, of course, our lives are predestined. . .

Eileen Schuh: said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eileen Schuh: said...

Religion and metaphysics aside, Quantum Physics suggests that anything that CAN happen, does happen--a concept intertwined with Everett's Many Worlds Theory. All the paths we choose not to take in this world, we actually do take--in other universes. My novel Schrödinger's Cat (http://amzn.to/nhT0PX) explores how the multiverse concept might increase our understanding of fate/choice/destiny/karma

Jim Szpajcher said...

Thanks for responding. Quantum theory is a wonderful construct with which to view the world (and to create worlds in fiction). Your novel, Schrodinger's Cat is a powerful exploration of this theme of a multiverse. The human mind is so delightfully complex that using models such as religion, metaphysics and science (especially Quantum Physics) we can evaluate differing paradigms for how and why we are living our lives.

Unknown said...

I recently started a novel and have actually stressed myself out with the concept of killing off one of my characters.
Although, this is a rather trivial matter to be concerned with it's interesting how one can become emotionally attached to a made up character who, outside of my mind and a few chapters on paper, does not exist.
Ahhhh, the human mind - ever a mystery.

Eileen Schuh: said...

David Deutsch, physicist at the University of Oxford suggests in his book The Beginning of Infinity [http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Infinity-Explanations-Transform-World/dp/0670022756/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328481863&sr=1-1] that since everything that can possibly happen, does happen, fictional characters truly do exist somewhere in alternate universes. He doesn't make it clear whether authors create these characters or if we are simply channelling them.