I didn’t deliberately write my finished manuscript, The Stone Man, like this. I wasn’t planning for it. Often, when I’m approaching the end of the story, I’ll have three different paths I could take.
1: “The nice path” - where everybody is happy and they resolve every issue. The hero gallops toward the setting sun while little Dorothy wakes up from her delirium-induced dreams about an Emerald City as the detective sits in the bar enjoying a stiff martini with the grateful madam whose case he solved.
2: “The not-so-nice path” - where the vigilante places the flowers on the grave of his family as the other vigilante rests his dying body near the little girl he helped save while the other vigilante hides himself in the heavy trench coat knowing the law will chase after him for the rest of his life.
3: “The strange twisting path” - think of the original movie “Planet of the Apes” where the humans discover they were on Earth all along. Or the movie “Sixth Sense” where Bruce Willis discovers he was dead all along. Or the James Bond movie franchise who has discovered that no matter which actor plays the role or how many villains the spy shoots, it’s the sex scene that the viewing audience wants to watch all along.
Each of these paths has one thing in common for me. They have true endings. Once I write the last word, I place the story away and start with a brand-new idea. I never look back.
Can you guess which path I normally take? Of course it’s the “strange twisting path.” I love those unexpected endings. Nothing gets me giddier than to discover that what I had thought at the beginning isn’t how the storyline plays out. Now, I knew (kind of) how the ending would be with this manuscript. But the other day when I really looked at it, I realized something.
I combined all three paths in a massive story pot involving a little sadness, a little happiness, and a lot of weirdness leaving me surprised. After I reread the ending, I scratched my head at another interesting fact.
“Yanno, I could continue with this. Fast forward the whole storyline to another point and write another manuscript using many of the original characters.”
Well, once this idea lodged in the gray matter there was no way I would get it out. Like a massive brain worm burying in deep, my mind cast the characters’ images into my daydreams as I watched the scenes. That was the end of it. Once I can “see” the story, the idea isn’t going to be leaving anytime soon - not unless I type it out.
Sigh, so much more to write about if only I can get an agent.