Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Evolution of Michael

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, September 23, 2007.

I've just finished chapter five of my serial Michael Finally Grows Up. Being that I hadn't updated since February (bad Rowan!) I went back and read the first four chapters to refresh myself with Avery and Michael's world. It took me two years (maybe more, since I can't for the life of me figure out when that first installment went up) to write those four chapters. As I read through the story, I could see the shift my writing style has taken in the last couple of years. It was interesting. Like a trip in the WABAC machine.

In chapter one, Avery's interesting, but he's got no real voice. You never really get a handle on who he is—you just see what he sees. And he has a tendency to ramble, which is more me than him, definitely. I still think the first chapter's a good one, but if I'd started this story today, it never would have been put down that way.

There are other problems, too. Tense shifts that even now I'd have no idea how to fix without scrapping the sentence and starting from scratch. Little grammar things that I just didn't know back then. A few places where I took a paragraph to say something when I probably only needed a sentence. In later chapters, there are scenes where I skip vital steps in my characters' interactions. No one forgets to take off their shoes during sex, I don't think (this is an ongoing problem with me), but a few things just as bad. I cringe, but I can't go back to fix because I said this story is supposed to be a record of my writing style.

After this week, I'm seriously considering changing that policy. I actually blushed a few times during my read-through. Did I really write that?

But I get better. And, oh, what a rush that is.

It's hard to pin down exactly what changed. By the time I got to chapter four, I realized the pace was quicker, and Avery was much sharper. By chapter four, we know Avery so well, and we know Michael through his eyes. I think chapter five continues that trend, but I suppose only time will tell. Knowing me, two years from now I'll be cringing all over again.

Style shifts aside, I love this story, start to finish. I love how Avery is unapologetic about who he is and yet he will do anything—anything—to keep Michael from crying. I love how Michael is able to recognize Avery's awkward attempts at affection and always says thank you.

Avery is there, from the very beginning. That's the best thing about Michael Finally Grows Up. The core story is visible in every chapter. Avery and Michael are always good together. Even in chapter five, where you can see that my hot tempered artist is about to shoot everything to hell, and you're hoping he doesn't muck it up too badly in the weeks ahead, a guilty part of you kind of hopes he steps over the line just enough to makes things interesting.

Because that's part of his charm. Maybe it's part of mine, too.

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