How the Gift was Written

I first started what I then called Soul Stone in 2010, and wrote three good chapters, just going with what came to me. Then I wrote sixty thousand words from my head and came to dead stop, a victim of intellectual ought-to and disregard of character. It took me eight years to figure out what I had done wrong. I kept the first three chapters, threw the rest away, and carried on from where I should have left off.

I created a new and marvelous and complex setting, with which I expected to have a lot of fun, and tried to explore it, but no matter how wonderful a setting is, it isn’t a story. The setting is still there, but I’m not using it. 

I wrote a series of chapter objectives, things that each chapter had to accomplish, and superficially they were right. But the story was a robot, it never came to life. I threw it all out. 

I tried other ideas, a but each was only an idea, none of them informed or supported a story. I had forgotten to listen for that whisper. Every attempt to anticipate future chapters failed. My character grows, discovers truths I didn’t know about, experiences events that come by surprise — to me as well as to him — and makes those future chapter ideas irrelevant. 

Eventually I knew that there were three possible endings, and I very carefully did not try to decide which one it would be. I knew what my latest chapter was about, and I finished it, and I discovered what the real ending was — and it still gives me chills.

When I finished reading aloud all three times, for text, for story, and for performance, I put the whole thing into Voice Dream, which read it aloud to me, so that I could hear it. There were more little things to fix, some of which I had read over far too many times. 

It’s been a long time coming, but now, The Gift and The Price is done. Yes, the second “The” is capitalized. I like it a lot.