Looking Back: Seven Days

“The best way to get over a woman is to turn her into literature.” Henry Miller

The reason I hadn’t been updating a lot throughout the summer was because I was working on my latest work titled “Seven Days”.  I had started writing this about a couple of years ago but only managed to write a couple of chapters until I got really busy with life.  After I started participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I began to work on it more and focused on in during my 2nd NaNoWrIMo last year.  While I succeeded in NaNoWriMo by writing 50,000 words in 30 days, I had barely just failed to finish the story.  I got the writing bug though this spring and finished it and continued to edit/revise it this past summer.

I’m always bad at describing my stories in person, I end up rambling which ends up confusing everyone.  “Seven Days” is no different but I think I can do a better job here!  The short description would be “A nostalgic young man trying to forget his former love suddenly comes back into his life for seven days.”  Whenever I tell this to a friend or a curious listener, they will almost always tease me by saying “Oh, so is this about you??”  While the story itself isn’t 100% about me, it’s definitely inspired by my relationships in the past.  I have always been a nostalgic person to a fault and I blame my excellent long-term memory for it.  I’m almost a closet romantic.  Combine those two and you can kind of see where this is going.  Like just about everyone, I have had my fair share of rough breakups.  There were a couple of them that really got me depressed for awhile.  Part of me always thought about it (even when I didn’t want to) and I always had lingering thoughts about them from time to time.  Whenever I got really down, they came back in full force.   It really wasn’t healthy.

Around five years ago, I had hit the lowest point in probably my life and was haunted by the worst thoughts.  It was to the point where I was actually getting sick and didn’t want to do anything.  Fortunately, I forced my way through it and met some great people along the way when I was finishing up college.  I try not to think about that time much but at the same time, I look back and think to myself “It was a rough time but I got over it and moved on.  Look where I am now!”  I still had lingering thoughts about things though.

Sometime later in life, I got tired of said thoughts and thought “Why don’t I just write about this?”  I had written about my experiences in a journal or whatnot but what if I made a story out of it?  That way I could express these thoughts and emotions in a unique way.  Plus I would be working on my writing at the same time.  And thus, “Seven Days” was born. “Seven Days” is more of a healing piece for me than anything; I’m not sure if it would attract many readers if I published it.  The contents are more mature than in my first novel so it’s sort of a big departure from the more light-hearted stuff I was writing before.  I have also noticed how much my writing style has changed over the years; I’m getting better at describing things which has been my main weakness.  The writing style is more introspective than anything I else I have written which was interesting to attempt.  The biggest challenge for me was this:   how to make a story with next to no action interesting? If you ever get to read it, you’ll have to answer that for me.

I decided to try a little experiment with this story and departed from the usual way I write.  Each chapter represents a day. Within these chapters though, the main character has flashbacks, mainly from seeing something that reminds him of the past.  Because he thinks too much about the past, there are many flashbacks throughout the story, each portraying a different section of his life with this woman.  While I’m a little worried that it’s going to confuse people about the timeline, I thought it was a neat idea.  I’ll admit,even I had to make my own timeline to make sure events weren’t overlapping with each other and to keep track on what I had written about.  This made revising the story a bit tricky because I had to make sure everything followed in a logical order with all the jumps.  Maybe it will require a second reading to get the full picture but I honestly wouldn’t want to write it in any other way.  Something would feel missing.

Another big difficulty in writing this was not thinking back of some rather unpleasant thoughts but rather how to portray the female characters.  I didn’t want them to sound stereotypical and I was worried if I could make said characters believable.  I also didn’t want to make the story sound one-sided; while it is about a young man who is trying to forget his former love, I wanted to make sure to get the girl’s perspective about things as well.  Seeing everything through the man’s eyes wouldn’t have felt right to me.

So whenever someone does ask me the question “Is it about you?” I usually respond with “Sort of.” It’s a story mixed with reality and fiction.  I’m really glad I wrote it, I learned a few things about myself along the way.  I just handed a copy to a friend of mine which had to be one of the hardest things to do in awhile.  I haven’t shown anyone my first novel, mainly because it still needs a lot of work.  This one is more ready to be read and it just happens to be a much more personal piece.  That’s the point of writing though, right?  For someone to read it.  Hopefully everyone will get a chance to one day.

The next step now is to revise my first novel!  After that maybe I’ll try to write something completely different!  Perhaps something with action or mystery?  Only time will tell.

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