I have a problem. At…

I have a problem. At least I think I do -- it's possible I'm still so groggy that I'm only imagining the problem, especially since it seemed crystal clear to me at the moment I woke, but still.

Postulate 1. I write my best stories when I write them all in one go, basically without getting up from the chair for more than a few minutes. Now, by best I don't necessarily mean that a story I wrote in one sitting five years ago is necessarily better than one I constructed over several days last week...but rather that if I hadn't constructed the story over several days but rather wrote *it* all it one go, it would be a better story. (And by constructed here, I meant wrote in chunks, which isn't clear. Thinking it out over several days is fine).

Now, this is not typical for writers. I've resisted coming to this conclusion for my work (though I've discussed the possibility with Kevin before). But I can *see* the breaks in flow, in language (and while Kev says I need to counter that by becoming a better, more conscious writer, I don't know that that's going to help anytime soon. I'm trying, but...). More importantly, perhaps, it's much too easy to stop caring about a story if I stop. I have a huge folder full of unfinished stories...and I had endings in mind when I started them; I just got up and walked away and never came back.

Postulate 2: I can't write a novel all in one go. Oh, I've heard of romance authors who crank out a novel in three weeks (sometimes one each month!), but I don't think I'll be able to do that anytime soon. And there are a host of purely practical things to consider -- like sleeping. And earning rent. Sleeping *might* be okay if I got up and immediately started working again...or it might not. Don't know. Maybe I should experiment with a short story.

Conclusion: I can't write my best novel. I'm not even sure I can finish a novel -- not one I'd be willing to see published, at any rate. (I *can* force myself to crank out words, but how dreary!).

I'm trying to think of solutions. When I was working on my fantasy novel before, the parts that seemed to work best were the ones that were mini-stories within themselves; *those* I could write in a chunk, and sustain real interest in. Perhaps I wouldn't write a conventional novel. Perhaps I'd write an entire series of mini-stories, and try to get a mosaic effect, so they all cohered into one larger story (either with or without mortar between them). I can't easily think of another solution...I'm afraid it'll be a *long* time before Kev's solution works. And I'm not feeling patient, dammit. It's been five years since I started writing; more than enough time, IMO, to have written a novel.

Okay, I'm going to try something. I send the readers "The High Priestess", the story I wrote last night. I'm also going to send a chunk of my novel, written *as* a single story (which does have the advantage of possibly being able to sell to magazine market). Probably "Melusane". There are problems with both of them; specifically, one is entirely told, rather than shown, and the other is partially. I think that may be laziness on my part, though, and potentially fixable. (The storytelling style is an ancient and venerable tradition, but it doesn't sell for beans). I'd like to hear opinions on whether you think a) either of these stories could sell to a fantasy mag and b) whether you could see reading a book composed of stories like these.

Okay, enough fretting. In an entirely different vein, one of you did respond to my query about writing poems in response, and gave me permission to post his response poem. Very neat! I wish I had time to set up CGI scripts so y'all could easily interact with me here.

She was too
a hairdresser
I was too soft

-John Bakum

Would still be happy to see poems from more of you...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *