My Epic Failure

I’m happy to be confronting the first chapter of the novel. In the past, I’ve written 10,000 words or thereabouts, developing the prologue and other chapters. However, each time I began I quickly became overwhelmed as I realized the complexity of the storyline, and instead moving forward I sought refuge in the seductive realm of research.

The Marble Elephant Axiom

This time is different though. I’ve envisioned a beginning I can believe in and the writing process is enlightening. Ironically, I’m not sure this chapter will ever be published but I’m certain that the writing is essential. For one thing, the process transformed my sense of  being overwhelmed to an understanding of the project’s scope.

I’m reminded of the “How do you create a marble statue of an elephant?” axiom.

The master says, “Creating a statue of an elephant is a simple process. First, you get a block of marble. Next, you chisel away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant!”

That is exactly how this project feels. Here’s the difference though, some of the pieces I chisel off are set aside for use in other chapters. I don’t know where those pieces will show up, but I know they will be needed. The problem with this method of writing is keeping track of all those pieces. Nonetheless, I’m very comfortable with this process, but I suspect it would be too chaotic for results oriented writers.

What Are Epic Proportions?

It’s not that I didn’t realize that this was an epic story before I began writing, but the epic proportions were conceptual only, nebulous and meaningless in a practical sense. Now, I’m beginning to see how all the elements of the story draw from the vast reservoir of research.

This morning I took a quick look at some stats related to the research. There is 840+MB of data held in 1,701 files and organized into 326 folders. I also have 280+MB of data in a Microsoft OneNote document. In addition, many books I’ve used for research are loaded into my iPad, about 430MB. And when you take all the sources, there’s much more.

As I’ve written drafts and done research I’ve rearranged my work documents many times.  In every sense of the phrase, this project has been a learning experience.

My Epic Failure

Now that I’m primarily focused on writing, albeit chunks of a marble pile, I’m relieved to accept that I’m heading toward an Epic Failure. My guess is that most people would be upset if they felt they were heading toward a failure, much less an Epic Failure, but I’m not looking at this from that point of view.

I’m certain that the story I envisioned writing is far too complicated for me to complete in this lifetime. However, now that I’ve chiseled away some large chunks of the story, I’m optimistic that there are pieces that will merit developing into smaller and more manageable stories.

Naturally, I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to spew my vision out in a single burst of energy, but I haven’t given up hope that the smaller stories can pave a path that might lead to full development of a novel.

And that’s where things stand today.

Yordie Sands

This was Yordie’s beautiful Zen Garden at Dakota Falls in Second Life.


About Yordie

I'm an avatar in Second Life where I star as the heroine of a virtual fantasy life. In the real world, I'm writing my debut sci-fi novel.
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4 Responses to My Epic Failure

  1. lizziegudkov says:

    I find your post extremely interesting, Yordie. Being a results oriented writer (person, even!), I found myself wondering how I’d react if I were in your shoes. Mostly likely, I’d be hopelessly frustrated, so I admire your persistence so much and encourage you to continue working, one day at a time, one step at a time, one story at a time. 😀


    • Yordie says:

      Yeah, I seem to be most interested in writing that reveals the characters and story in the process. I have a lot of the novel mapped out into a classic structure, but it’s all very loosely defined. It is like a giant beast that keeps coming at me and I’m trying to chopped it down using scissors. *heh*


  2. Yordie, I always thought that it flowed from the muse. The initial idea flows like a tap and then it starts to sputter and explode and even get rusty!! but I know what you mean about chopping. I hate to chop anything. it’s like cutting off a finger or an arm. But I’m never happy and revise forever!! And I’m talking little stuff – no great novels from me yet ( if ever). I hope to read yours some day!!


    • Yordie says:

      I’m still discovering this whole writing process. Perhaps the epic I have in my mind will spew itself out as I would like, but even if I only create a few of the stories hiding in the vastness, then it will be worthwhile. I just wish I could create more time. This is the ultimate problem to solve, creating the time and discipline. Hugs 🙂


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