Personal incunabula

So many snippets. So many little bits of story from the other characters’ perspectives. The text of Ben’s letter to Bob, of Marie’s note to Ben, the conversation Ben and Thomas had while she was trying to figure out the outfit, the entire argument from the moment they put her in the room till just before their shouting woke her, etc., etc., etc. It’s at least an entire novel in length, and that doesn’t count all the time diagrams, bits of paper where I jotted down notes in the library as I researched the history of various places and people, backs of envelopes where I outlined the next few chapters (as I thought they might work out, but never did) and electronic notes I hastily “typed” onto my Nook at whatever bizarre hour of the night I woke up with an idea (most of which were altered beyond recognition during the writing process).

I started making a book of short stories, revising these early things to be consistent with what my characters had later revealed about their histories. However, there’s an entire story behind each of the little statements. Bob’s history alone could be at least three books. I wanted to hurry and finish the short stories anyway, and write the other books later, but I’ve gotten sidetracked on Marcel’s short story. It’s already a novella.

My husband assures me every writer has a personal incunabulum like mine. To me, it’s something like a fecund compost pile, with strange new things growing out of the rich soil created by words tossed out on the garbage heap.