Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Life has been hectic and the day job is eating up most of my time. But I wanted to pop in and let you know I have a new story up at Linger Fiction today called, “Love in Pieces.” Want to know the really cool part? The issue is filled with the lovely folks over at Absolute Write. How cool is that? We W1S1 people are talking over the world (err, the Internet) one publication at a time.
So go ahead and check out my story and read the entire issue while you’re at it. There’s some good stuff in there.
Writing is funny. Okay, maybe not funny ha-ha, but the process can be amusing. Mostly, because it’s unpredictable.
I’ll give you an example. If I’m not working on a long project, I’ll sit down to write and have nothing in mind. Then all of a sudden, a few words or phrases come out. Soon, a whole story blossoms around them until I’ve got a complete narrative. Ideally, this is how it works.
It always starts with the few words or phrases or an image. But sometimes, I’m not sure what it’s supposed to mean, like I’m trying to decipher the real meaning of a cryptic phrase, which is ridiculous because I came up with the phrase in the first place!
But fiction for me, especially short stories are filled with ephemera, little scraps and bits and pieces that are disposable and meaningless on their own. Maybe they just go into my idea file and sit there for ages. But they sometimes come crawling out of the ether and demand to be made into something indisposable. Even more than that, they demand to be irreplaceable.
More than anything, I want to honor that ephemera, those bits, those useless pieces. They came from somewhere in the back of my mind and I have to work hard to ensure my forebrain serves them justice. I don’t always succeed, but writing every day is my way of worshipping at the feet of the ephemera so it will always be there, a pool of scraps of paper that say things like “plastic burning in the desert” and “cats with cowlicks” and “You are less made up and more like memory.”
I sit down at the computer and bury my hands deep in the discarded, hoping to save just one fragment.
Autumn time dreams shake
loose oak leaves—a pretty death
to hide the nightmares.
I’ve noticed something lately. When I sit down to work on my novel, I approach it in a straightforward manner. Plot a scene, write it, make notes. The story is linear and falls within a rather traditional science fiction vein.
Then there’s my short stories, which are free-flowing and often resemble prose poetry. They deal with fantastic creatures and death and morbid worldly topics set in otherworldly locations.
There’s a disparity between the two, the long form and the short form.
For those of you more experienced in this than I, will this hurt me? Is this a detriment to my writing career right out of the gate? Though I love the free verse feel of my short stories, I’m not sure if I could utilize that for a novel length work.
How do your novels and short stories compare? Vastly different or one in the same? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend. Mine was spent hanging out with family, eating copious amounts of food, and watching people get drunk. It’s hilarious until it’s awkward.
I’m finally getting back into my novel WIP and it’s starting to fly. I’ve hit the middle–or what I wanted to be the middle–at 40k. I had to reread everything I wrote so far to get back in writing mode and to reacquaint myself with the style and tone. There are many, many rough spots, so I jotted down some notes for future reference. Revision Me will be displeased, but Draft Me is happy because under all the flaws and incoherent thoughts and poor transitions, there’s a real bonafide story in there.
Though I did stop working on the WIP at about the halfway point six months ago, it’s sort of energizing now because it’s all downhill from here. The draft is halfway done already. And the upcoming chapters are some of the most exciting. In fact, the scene I’m working on right now is a major part of the inspiration for this novel. I know every day won’t be as great as this in terms of enthusiasm towards new words, but I’m sure going to embrace them when they come.
My only concern is that my novel will be too short. If it keeps up at the current pace, it might only be about 60k, which is a bit too short for sci-fi. But who knows, maybe another subplot will present itself. I know of a few spots in the beginning of the novel that need bulking up, so maybe I’m worried about nothing.
What I’m curious about is how you all work with word counts? I know each genre has specific requirements. Is it instinctive finding the right length for your story or do you have to perform much fiddling to get it expanded or whittled down to just the right word count?