Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Revising Utopia Project, part XIII; or, Story Therapy

Lately I have been having a crisis of faith.

I've been reading books about fairies and magic powers and rides across silent lakes to glimmering courts of forest denizens. I stood outside on Saturday feeling, for perhaps the first time since fifth grade, that dragons could descend on me.

This is all good. But, as I whirled under the garlands of forest berries, as the bushes parted to reveal a path heading to Baba Yaga's hut, I turned, and outside the ring of light I saw a vast ocean. On it were a fleet of mismatched boats, and in those boats were the people of the Utopia Project.

Their hungry eyes burned me; their sails flapped listlessly under the unfull moon.

Come back, they told me. Please.

I wavered. I did not want to trade the dancing slippers and silken gown for the rags and the bilgewater; the intrigues of the fairy court seemed to me more vital than the power struggles carried on in those innumerable boats.

Better, I thought, to have food you cannot eat than to have no food at all.

I had fallen out of love with my story.


How do you reverse such a situation?

Story therapy.


I have it easy. I am revising a story already finished: if I get lost in the forest, I know that I will find my way to the end somehow.

I was burning during the first draft. The story was in my blood; I was going at such a pace that I knew, for sure, for certain, that I would finish. My question in recent weeks was how to get back to that feeling.

Aside from brute stubbornness, I had help from two things. Take them or leave them.

1. Invocation.
2. Music.



I have in the past few days started a scene from the POV of a character I do not particularly like. She is whiny, she is weak, she wants power without working for it - and she gets it. Her good traits are gifted, not earned.

Because I have been reading Jung (a three-part series of posts on that coming soon; the first is this Friday), I saw that she forms part of my Shadow - the ego's rejects. Meaning I can reclaim her.

I am not religious, but I felt as though I was calling on some power when I realized this as I was journaling yesterday. I will not here copy exactly what I said, because that will make it lose its power, but you must know that it was deliciously melodramatic. And it may work.

When I wrote her today, I found that there is indeed something in her that is admirable. There is something I can understand, and with that foothold I can perhaps come to inhabit this character, to wear her skin.



When I wrote the part of the story I am revising now, I was in eighth grade. In fact, it was almost exactly two years ago now.

My favorite bands were Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace. There was one song in particular that seemed to embody everything my story was about:

So I listened to it. And it pulled me back into that thirteen-year-old self, who loved the story unconditionally and who was beginning to accelerate, to smash into that glorious summer 2010 that brought over 60,000 words.

I needed to be that girl. I still do need to be her, when I am writing, at least in part: my (hopefully) improved writing skills added to her energy, her enthusiasm.

Her faith. In the story, and in her as the right person to transmit it.


Some stats:

Scenes finished since last time: 7

Words: ~20,000

What I say to myself: Sink in.


Good night and good writing. Expect Jung.


  1. I couldn't not pop up for a visit, i was too curious about your project...please do not give up on your people, you owe it to them to keep on narrating their story with the same spark you once had. Happy writing gurl. xx

    1. Knock on wood, I've got the inspiration back. Thanks for your well-wishes. :)