Uldus Bahktiozina

An Emotional Artifact


This is the stillness after the storm. My mind is both very full of thoughts and feelings, and oddly empty. I’m supposed to be doing a half-dozen things right now, but instead I sat down to… write some more? 

There’s a hole in my brain at the moment. It’s vaguely book-shaped. When they say ‘hey, you know, you could have a book in you!’ this isn’t really what they mean, but having done this many times now, this is exactly what it feels like. Like you reached inside, and pulled out a book. It’s tiring, especially the last few days for me. I always get so excited at the point where I start to see that the ends are all going to weave together and things fall into place that I wrote ages ago and didn’t even realize I was foreshadowing until I got to the point where I was going to use that thing/character/whathaveyou to drive the plot to a satisfactory conclusion. I get to a point where I write, and write, and stretch because ow, that hurts. Then I sit down and write some more. 

Today was that day. The East Witch is a complete file. Oh, it’s not really finished. But I was able to write ‘the end’ and wrap all three endings (yes, it has three. It’s logical and temporally necessary, and I’m pretty sure my beta readers will agree with me). It will take a while, running it through beta readers, editors, and the inevitable revisions from their collective feedback. In that process, I expect the manuscript to grow. I have a bad tendency to mental shorthand, and usually get a puzzled ‘could you explain this?’ which is when I have to write a bit to pull out the part that got stuck in my brain when I was writing initially. 

It’s all part of the process. I’ve done this nine times. Nine novels. Goodness. 

I was reminded today of something I wrote a few years back. Six years ago, in 2014, which was before I graduated and set off on a career as a scientist and I was very focused on writing, publishing, and figuring out how to build that foundation so I could do with my books what I still plan to do. So much has changed since the day I wrote that. And so much has remained the same. 

Of course fiction books are emotional. That’s sort of the point. I pour emotion in when I’m writing, and readers pull it out again, filtered through their own lens of experience. 

I’m feeling empty today because I’ve poured out so much of myself into this story. Into all my stories. Not directly. I never set out to make a character that is just like me. In fact, while I identify with one of the characters in East Witch, it is not the heroine, and I’m willing to guess that most would not be able to pick it out. I don’t put me into just one character. I’m in all of them. They are in me, to be precise. 

Today, they are out of me. And it’s very quiet in my head. 



2 responses to “An Emotional Artifact”

  1. Weird … I had a dream- something this morning – a concept, two characters, and a time-space. Two girls, their names, and a setting in WWII. A plot driven by letters to each other; they’re distant cousins – and one goes to the Far East as a spouse, the other as a military nurse…
    I feel oddly driven to write their story…

    1. Sounds fascinating. Having both over there makes it an interesting take, rather than one back home and the other far away.