Thursday, February 02, 2012

On Endings, Wished For and Otherwise

Hands on the keyboardOver the last eight months or so, I’ve been gradually working my way through a draft of a new novel. Started with an idea back in May, something I originally thought might be just a short story. But the sucker gained momentum and by the time I made it to the World Series of Poker in mid-June I already knew it was a novel-length puzzle I had given myself to try to solve.

That trip, followed closely by another to LAPT Uruguay, introduced what amounted a two-month break from the fiction writing. But I got back to it and have steadily pushed through to where I am now looking at just a couple more scenes to go before I can say the draft is done and begin the work of revising.

I was realizing over the last few days how a small part of me doesn’t want to reach the end of the draft. That is to say, while I have known for some time how the story is going to end, not knowing precisely how I was going to get there allowed me to indulge in the fantasy of my novel having a kind of limitless potential -- that there was still time to include all sorts of scenes or characters or allusions or what have you.

But now that the end is nigh, I’ve started to accept that my options are becoming fewer as far as introducing new elements is concerned. Sure, when I revise I already know of a few new items that are going to have to be brought in as part of the story. But it’ll no longer be a “no-limit” game then, given the considerable constraints of the plotting already in place.

I used to play poker in a similar fashion, not wanting a session to end no matter how long I’d played, or even how the session was going. But more and more I’ve found myself cutting sessions short. In fact, it has gotten to the point sometimes that I find myself starting to think about leaving even during the first orbit of hands.

Congratulations you have been awarded coupon VIP Cash Rebate and your wallet has been credited with $0.02There are several reasons for this change of attitude or lessening of enthusiasm about playing or whatever you want to call it. One, in fact, is that I’ve often preferred to work on the novel than to play.

Also, being relegated to sites with fewer options for game selection, not to mention having to stick with the micros (thanks to my unwillingness to deposit), has made the idea of sitting down to play less inviting. This recent VIP Cash Rebate I earned on Carbon -- for two whole cents! -- is a good indicator of how little time and money I have been investing trying to build my small roll on the site.

Another factor may be simply that the novelty of playing online has long since worn off, too. The “stories” poker used to provide me on a regular basis have mostly gone away or become less interesting. There was a lengthy stretch when I’d play a decent number of hours every week and almost always be guaranteed to come away with some interesting anecdote or hand or something that I would subsequently write about here. But things that are happening at the tables these days just aren’t as inspiring, I’m afraid.

Which is why I go back to the novel. Like Same Difference, it’s a murder mystery, although the protagonist is not a detective. Nor is the story especially “hard-boiled” or as licentious as was the case in the first one. Oh, and again, no poker.

Like I say, the finish line is in sight as far as the draft goes, and I’m hoping to get through the revising and have it out into the world by the spring. At which time we’ll see what new games there are to play.

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