Writing Sin

Sin.  You know, I can’t entirely even remember where the idea came from?  I think it ‘popped’ into my head as Sin the name rather than ‘sin’ the act or ideal.  Even then, though, it wasn’t particularly an idea.

It was just a name.

‘Name’s Sin.’

And then a short story was born.

I’d always wanted to write a novel.  A full length book.  I tried many times, but, for various reasons, I never finished.  So I wrote short stories or poems.  I don’t write a specific genre, I write a story and it turns out how it turns out, so I could, effectively, write about anything.

I also, very rarely plan out a story.  I start with the beginning and the middle and end vie for who’s going to be next.  With Sin’s blog posts (http://singularityspoint.blogspot.com) in most cases I have that first sentence and no idea of which way it is going to go or what is going to happen.

Such it was with Sin.  I was writing short stories, and that’s what I did.  I wrote a short story about a guy called Sin.  I didn’t know, until it happened, that people would die around him.  I didn’t know he’d find a two pence coin or that it would be the catalyst of everything else that happened to him.  I also had no idea that he wouldn’t know how to be quiet.

After Sin (the story) was finished, I went on to write other stories too.  I went through a stage of writing only poetry, but that was fine as that’s, simply, how it went.  I don’t force it, I write what I write.  If I do try to make myself work on a particular piece, it goes horribly wrong and I end up deleting sections or whole works.

But Sin was playing in the back of my mind.  Like Steve McQueen in the Great Escape (one of my favourite films), he was in the cooler with his glove and ball.  He was locked up in his asylum waiting to sneak out and play with my head.

So, then, Sin grew.  Again, I didn’t know what was going to happen or where he might go, but he seemed to know himself.  At one point of the book, he’s walking, stranded, along a country lane.  That’s how I felt when I was writing it then.  There was a long road ahead of me, and I couldn’t see which way to go.  Then a van pulled up and took me (and Sin) away with it.

For a whole year, I didn’t write a single word.  Not in Sin in poetry or in short story.  There was nothing there.  I had various issues going on, and the impetus to write was somehow lacking.  But then things changed and suddenly Sin was flowing again.  I could only manage little bits of it here and there – lunchtimes and so on – but he kept needing to be voiced.  It helped that so much of myself and my experiences became part of Sin’s outlook and history (such as the Seven Hills in chapter 13) as I could write almost as me.

When I went to Egypt last year, I was so in the zone that I wrote 15,000 words and could taste the end, though I forced myself not to think ahead in fear of spoiling it and over-thinking what might happen.

And now he’s here and he’s being described as ‘an incredible read’, ‘a masterpiece’ and ‘dark, disturbing and amazing’.  I can’t describe how good that feels.  Not least as that original short story was started ten years ago.  I know that, during November, the NaNo writers producing 50,000 words plus in that one month.  I wish I could, but i don’t know if I’d be happy with those words.  Sin’s 105,000 took a decade, not a month or two.

Now, though, possibly because he’s taken so long to become fully formed, he’s so much more of a real person.  My ‘dark half’.  He has a sequel already started, and he ‘writes’ regular diary entries from his asylum in the form of his blog.

He took ten years of my life to get here, but it feels like he’s helped my life actually start now he’s arrived.

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