I did a lot of writing over the weekend, and a lot of thinking. I had a moment of epiphany on Sunday–I made the one change that changes everything–and in the process I discovered what the story is about. Now I see why it needs to be so dark, why the characters hurt each other the way they do, why the sex is so deviant and escalates to such extremes. The nebulous ending makes sense, and all those odd vignettes I wrote without knowing why. The plot has become simpler and the story more complex.

Not, you understand, that I think the book is genius and will be a bestseller with movie rights to follow. It’s a smutty little novel with some psychological thrills and chills–nothing more. But my passion for it has returned, stronger even than when I began. I need to write it now. I should have the remaining new scenes added by the end of this weekend, and I’m optimistic that the book will be finished before we leave in late April. (And by that I mean, it will be landing in August’s mailbox, and he’ll shred me, and I’ll begin again.)

It’s a strange thing, isn’t it. Writing. Tens of thousands of empty words, written and thrown away. That’s not my story, that’s not my story . . . You get to the end before you discover what you’ve been writing about all along.

Do you know what your story is about? How long did it take you to figure it out, or how long have you been trying?

Photograph by Ellen Von Unwerth


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