There are times when I manage to write myself into a corner, and it’s time to think my way out. Fun times, for the reader. Me? Not so much. I’m sure it happens to other writers, when a cool idea becomes a burden to be carried or morphs into a measuring stick. They’re great, if you can pull it off, but the failures can be spectacular – in a terrible way, of course.
As an example, in the novel I’m currently writing on Patreon, the main character is a dragon. That in itself is different enough from a typical main character to cause issue, but a cool idea has turned it into a daily headache. See, this dragon isn’t like other dragons in fantasy novels. Dragons in this world have perfect sense. I chose to portray this perception as total synesthesia. Essentially, the dragon gathers information from all five senses and creates a complete, comprehensive image in his mind. This allows him to see behind objects or even with his eyes closed. He sounds areas with his tail, picking up images from the vibrations.
The real trick with this idea of mine was in how I’m trying to go about portraying it in words. I have to be careful with my word choice to pull it off in a way I feel is either meaningful or worthy. Stone, the dragon, doesn’t just see or hear, he senses. And what he senses comes across as a jumble of adjectives but paints a clear picture. At least that’s the hope. What does that look like?
“Rain had made it difficult to find prey, colored senses with its clamor and downpour of vibrations. Stone had shed his scales twice since on his own, and though he’d learned to isolate perceptions in all that time, it was still a struggle to rely on any one without the others.”
“The pride came into sense, a whirling musk of damp coats and prickled rumbles. Nine in all, they prowled near the base of the great tree. Even from this distance and through the rain, Crier could be heard, an echoed wail of fearful white.”
“Stone could sense it as he entered the tree and left behind the crackling drone of thunderous rain. Sticky yellows and sweet warmth, heady rinds and new vines, the whispered growth was enough to steal his breath.”
His descriptors are jumbled, because he takes in every sense at once. He sees sounds, hears colors, smells tastes, etc. A cool idea, but it can be exhausting to keep up with and keep track of. I can’t just give different descriptions to everything and take the chance of describing the same thing a second time incorrectly…
So it’s slowing me down a bit. I’m hoping, in the end, it becomes an appreciable effort. Failing at it would suck, to say the least. On the flip side, to have a cool idea and not pursue it, because it would be too difficult, just never even occurs to me. All the cool ideas must be used! Well, so long as they serve the story. Everything must serve the story!
Have you ever had a cool idea you shied away from?