Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Best-Laid Plans, Derailed

Even the best-laid plans can be derailed. A good example? My own story, “Well-Laid Plans,” which was recently published in the online literary journal, Four-Cornered Universe.

I had written a few stories from Tracks before I realized I was writing a series of linked stories about passengers on a train. The first story I wrote for Tracks ended up being cut out completely. Although it was one of the original seeds for the novel in stories, it no longer fit after a few revisions of the manuscript.

Well-Laid Plans” tells the story of a character who has died on the train. (No spoilers; Tracks has gone through changes since this story so there aren’t any revelations here.)

It’s all about balancing planning with living, the story stresses that while it may be important to plan for the future, you can never be prepared for everything and should spend time focused on the here and now.

Prewitt lives. Instead of being the last story in the book, he now has the first story in Tracks. “Prewitt’s Plans,” considered by most readers to be a much better (and quite different) story, is the opening chapter of Tracks. In fact, “Prewitt’s Plans” was previously published in Scribble Magazine.

Both Prewitts are the same person, but in Tracks he lives and in Four-Cornered Universe, he has gotten off the train and left his best-laid plans undone.

I never planned to begin writing Tracks with a story that would not be included in the book. But, like Prewitt, I sometimes find that all the planning in the world can’t change the inevitable.

Enjoy “Well-Laid Plans” in Four Cornered Universe below.


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