Today we sidetrack with an instructional post as I iron out the final act of this story.
Although I finally figured out how I want to end this story (I'm close -- I'm guessing two or three more posts), I didn't get this week's installment finished in time. So I'm taking today to prepare you for the finale...
Because I've realized there are some missing pieces in the story.
This is part of the reason that most poets don't let you see anything but the finished -- and probably well-polished -- work. I want to give you a quick look at the things that will require me to rewrite this "pulp epic" before I finally publish it in book form. Perhaps it will help any of you who decide to try something like this on your own.
First of all, if I hadn't been writing it right in front of everybody on the blog, I don't know if I would have gotten it finished at all. I've never tried writing verse this long -- it's nearly 17k words long already -- and since I wrote it "on the fly," as it were, I've had no real blueprint of where it's going. That's part of the excitement, but part of the frustration as well. If you decide to try it, be prepared for the inevitable hard places.
Of course, the most obvious reason I'll have to rewrite is the variety of different verse styles I've used while writing this. I simply didn't know what would be the best way to tell the story. I've used everything from pure blank verse and tetrameter to simple syllable counting and free verse; I even did one section with rhyming couplets. I suspect I'll use more than one style in the finished poem, just for variety if nothing else, but the current version has no pattern to the styles I used at all... and pattern is what makes a poem poetry.
The story has evolved as I've written it as well. Some characters simply vanished, like old Elias Fenn. (Remember him? He's the town doctor.) Likewise, Father Benedict became a much more important character than I originally planned. (That's part of the reason for my struggles near the end; I needed to figure out how Benedict fit into the finale now that he was so prominent in the story.) Loose ends like those have to be dealt with in the final version.
Finally, there are some missing parts to the tale -- primarily, I forgot to build a romantic connection between Dietrich and Lilian. I did hint at it, in the posts right after Dietrich got hurt and Lilian arrived in Vaxen, but I forgot to write the sections that actually showed the romance growing. Those will have to be added during the rewrite.
So, as you can see, this isn't as simple as just "writing a story in verse." Unlike writing a story in prose, the need to use a poetic form of some sort really complicates any attempt to just sit down and write. There are some very real roadblocks to getting it done. But it's also incredibly rewarding -- I can't tell you how proud I am of this very flawed piece of art! I'd recommend it to anyone willing to try.
And next Friday we'll hit the home stretch. Like I said, I expect it will take two or three more posts to wrap the very rough first draft of this baby up.