from the Korean Army to being published

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

Entry #45: Direction

with one comment

I met with Dan, my editor/writing buddy/co-worker, a couple weekends ago to discuss the second section and, while the response wasn’t as uplifting as the response for the first section had been (with regard to structure, not content), it was vastly more helpful. I realize that it’ll need major edits, cutting a lot of stories that I spent countless hours working on. The good news is that many of those stories may eventually find their way onto this blog because it’s a waste to just throw them away. The bad news is that it’ll probably have to wait until I’ve reached the editing phase.

The reason for the major edits is that I’ve tried to paint a picture of the Army as I experienced it but life in the Korean Army is excruciatingly tedious and frustrating. I’m happy I was able to express that tedium and frustration but it just doesn’t work as a story. I’ll have to find a way to keep that expression in a minimalist fashion while expanding on the elements which drive the story, even if those elements were often minor events in the shitstorm that was being a private. Editing will perhaps take much longer than expected, but I’m looking forward to it.

Between not having a coffee shop nearby to work at and having night classes during my normal writing time, the third section is coming along and I’m hoping to have it finished by late-May/early-June. The third section is about my time on deployment in Afghanistan and is inherently much more interesting than my time in Daegu and is thus much more fun to recount and write. It was also in Afghanistan that I decided to write this book and I started taking detailed notes in my journal, which is a big help in the recounting and writing.

In the Army, we had this expression “ggeokgida,” which literally means “to be bent or folded,” but was used by fifth-month corporals to mean that they were “over the hill.” Everything before that is an uphill struggle, life as a private, private first class, and a corporal without seniority. Everything after that is coasting. You’re pretty much left alone and not much is expected of you. It’s a turning point in any Korean conscript’s military career.

I feel like I’m at that point in the writing of this first draft, a little past halfway in the third of four sections. Today, I’m figuratively folding a crease in my corporal’s insignias.


Written by Young

May 15, 2012 at 8:13 pm

One Response

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  1. Soldier on.


    May 16, 2012 at 2:40 am

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