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My head is full of pre-fiction

In my head right now is a crowd of people clamoring for attention. No, I am not going public about some kind of personality disorder, well not a medically documented one anyway. What I mean is that my mind has presented a number of character outlines to me, some have names and some don’t, all are ghostly in their half-formed state, drifting and hard to bring properly into focus. All seem to be trying to say something. All have their own point of view on the world. Most are holding on to an unresolved pain that seeks expression and resolution. Not one has properly defined physical features.

This last point seems to chime with an idea that has been suggested to me: they are not fictional characters – not yet at least – they are parts of mind is not a tangle of fictional story lines. These strands that I am struggling to unknot are not plots. It’s the raw material for fiction, but not yet fiction.

What difference does it make? It means that I’ve been handling things all wrong. I’ve been thinking about how to tell the story, how to find the right words, the right structure. All wrong. Too early. That’s why it’s been sending me mad. I’m still digging out the clay, shearing the sheep, whatever metaphor for pre-art that suits you. I need to slow down. I can’t finish before I start. I’m lucky; this is one piece of pre-writing research for which I don’t need to travel too far.

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