Tuntles (As My Nephew Used to Call Them)
Tuntles—we know them as tunnels—were a favorite thing of my nephew several years ago when he was first learning to talk. He enjoyed going through them when traveling and he loved using his blocks to build them when he played. He even has a “tuntle” that his mother helped him build to use when his blocks were needed for other things.
While on the Cheat Salamander excursion, we passed through a tunnel that was barely two feet from either side of the train (although we weren’t certain of that until we neared the tunnel’s end.) The light inside our car made judging the distance between the dark walls and the train nearly impossible. It wasn’t until we were almost out of the tunnel that its walls began to lighten and we could estimate the distance. After speaking to the conductor, we were surprised to learn that the tunnel was not a straight shot through the mountain; we had just come through a tunnel built in an “S.”
When writing, our focus needs to be like the train in the tunnel. We need to know where our story will start and where it will stop. If we try to take our story in too many directions at once, we can undermine it and bring the whole story down on our heads. This doesn’t mean we can’t have subplots. Even tunnels have smaller maintenance tunnels that are used to make sure our passage is safe. The key is to remember that once you have explored the maintenance tunnel, return to the main tunnel and continue on your way.
Just thought I would jot this down.