Pulling Back on the Reigns

I’ve never really ridden in a horse drawn carriage much in life, (but if these gas prices keep going up I may soon do so) but I think of the horse drawn carriage as a perfect metaphor for my writing process.

Think of the horse as the wild animal of my imagination, the carriage as the finished product, and the reigns as the way I shape the imagination to do what I feel is right and good.  I have to guide the runaway animal of my imagination to do what I want it to do, but how much should I reign it in?  Get the picture?  I spend a lot of time pulling back on the reigns.

I am currently writing a post-apocalyptic satire/parody of all things biblically end times.  I started out with a very serious action-adventure story with a strapping hero who looked like Harrison Ford with a beard and had been a Lt. Colonel in the Army Rangers.  I wrote six chapters of that before becoming totally bored with it.  That horse became very tired and I had to ship him off to pasture to live out his days.  I bought a new horse, and this one is a little more free spirited, and closer to what I like to write and feel more comfortable writing: comedy.  I love the absurd, the random, and the ironic.  This horse suits me, but I have had some trouble controlling his whinny or voice.  My “hero” is now a high school graduate (barely) who used to work as a grocery store bag boy until the “big end”.

I started out writing the book in first person, then tired of that because a romance from one perspective (with the love interest I have cooked up for later) would be boring.  I then stayed in first person but from the perspective of a mysterious narrator who is telling the story ala “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” and that was just too daunting and not enough for what I needed to tell the story properly.  I have settled on an “As I Lay Dying” approach where each chapter is a different character in the story from their perspective and the reader has to piece the story together and decide which character is lying to them.

Now that I have my horse reigned in, I shall endeavor to set him apace, galloping to the conclusion that I have written in the outline.  I wrote several chapters last night and found the narrative to be fun and at the same time a challenge: just what I love. 


Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

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