from the Korean Army to being published

the blog of an "ex-patriot" writer in Korea

Entry #30:An Old Stye and a New Draft

with 4 comments

It wasn’t a resolution but I’ve broken it regardless. I noticed the return of the stye on Thursday and went to the ophthalmologist to have it removed again. It was the exact same stye in the exact same place. The exact same metal contraption clipped to my eyelid to hold it inside out and the exact same pain of sharp surgical instruments poking and incising and suturing the sensitive flesh of my inner eyelid. The exact same shot in the exact same spot on my ass and the exact same prescription for eyedrops, pills, and ointment. And the thing is, I’m sure it will come back and I’ll have to go through it all again because I’ve already ignored my doctor’s exact same warning to abstain from smoking and drinking. Who in their right mind would turn down six free shots of hard alcohol? I put myself in that situation and I don’t really feel bad about it. My favorite biblical proverb is “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” It’s something I can identify with.

The last post was another draft of the introduction, but I’ve finally gotten around to writing a completely new draft of the book. I made the decision when I was in the shower the other day, the rising steam mixing with the smoke from my cigarette. It seems like I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in the shower lately.

The new draft is being written more or less chronologically as opposed to thematically as in my present draft. I’m not throwing away this draft, I’ve just put it on the back burner. I’ll compare the two later and see which one I want to keep.

This has been an issue since the beginning, when I first sat down and decided to write this book. Chronologically or thematically? Thematically or chronologically? The first few drafts were written chronologically and they were complete shit. After I wrote them and re-read them, I was disgusted with myself, as an aspiring writer and as a person. Life in the Army is boring as hell. Like I’ve said in the introduction, nothing happens in a black hole.

I like the thematic approach because it allows for humor and commentary. It gives a sense of meaning to an otherwise meaningless two years of my life. But at the same time, it is a cop-out. It’s easy. In the six years I’ve been working on this book, I was never at a point where I could tell the story as a pure narrative. I think I’m getting closer now.

If I can complete this draft and decide that it’s superior and more sellable, this will be the book I pitch to agents. The 2009 draft I will not throw away. If the publishers don’t want it (I don’t suspect they will), I plan on self-publishing it at a discounted price, a kind of supplementary reading to be sold for some additional income.

Either way, my goal of being published is being pushed to a later date, but I feel like this is a step in the right direction. Or it will be another waste of time but at least wasting time is something I’m good at.


4 Responses

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  1. We live in an age of nonlinear narratives, so it seems to me that the thematic approach will work great for you, especially if it comes easier. Besides, so what if it’s easier? As long as it’s written engagingly and well, the reader’s not going to worry about the stylistic choice. I know they say “Writing’s easy: just sit at the keyboard and open a vein,” but unnecessary self-torture shouldn’t be part of the process. Enjoy yourself while you write.

    My two scents, as the skunk said.

    Kevin Kim

    March 13, 2011 at 12:20 am

    • I guess I’m just a masochist at heart, a subscriber to the school that believes that creative work must come from pain.

      Thanks for the encouragement. It’s given me something to think about, especially since this new draft isn’t coming along so well.


      March 15, 2011 at 9:32 am

  2. Good luck with that stye, too!

    Kevin Kim

    March 13, 2011 at 12:31 am

  3. Good day everybody… Good post…

    Special Movies

    March 27, 2011 at 2:22 am

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