Leaning Into Topical Drift

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-10-15 21:00:00 No comments


Every time I sit down to work on something new, it drifts off course. This isn't a bad thing! It's part of the natural evolution of any project; it goes hand-in-hand with it changing from a Nice Idea to an Actual Completed Piece Of Work.

The original idea behind Unmortal, the new book in progress, was something like "a fantasy story discovers it's actually a cyberpunk story", but that was more about the genre than the subject. The way I see it now, this is a story about slavery and colonialism, about the colonizers and the colonized. It's still equipped with the original intentions I had for it, but they're not the whole bag of popcorn anymore.

This drift started happening sometime around when I began the first full-blown outline of the story. I didn't even get halfway through it before seeing how the real subject matter, outlined above, fairly cried out to be included. This was the story; my original approach was just how I got into the same room with it.

When I was younger I had what I guess could be called a theoretician's approach to storytelling. I would tell myself, "I want to write a story about X" -- or, worse, I would say, "I want to write a story that will inspire other people to say 'This is a story about X'". It took a while to disabuse myself of the idea that it was a worthwhile ambition to produce something so that it would be described by some critic in a specific way. A good story has to stand on its own feet, take its own steps, earn its own labels. You can't puppeteer it.


Tags: Unmortal creativity story ingredients