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Monday, April 19, 2010

Make the Novels go Away

I've written short stories most of my so called writing career. Why...because novels scare the hell out of me. I read constantly. I don't know how some writers manage to plant the Easter eggs throughout an entire book to keep the plot fresh. Unfold everything at the right time so the reader stays interested in finding what happens next.

I attempted to write a novel once. Managed to get to chapter three and became bored with it. I think that's one of my main problems. I'm afraid I'll get bored with the story before even finishing it. I've heard of writers who start writing a novel and it takes them the span of decades to complete it. I don't want to be one of those writers. I've thought about trying my hand at a short story collection, but I want to be at a place where I'm getting more acceptance letters in my inbox instead of rejections. Or perhaps an even amount of both. Just a better paradise than I'm in right now.


Autumnforest said...

I admit, I started out with novels and went on to short stories. When I did short stories, I was shocked how freakin easy they are. Yes, novel writing is tough, but one really good thing is that if you come up with a concept and a location and characters that impassion you, you want to be with them every day, see their lives and events unfold. You wonder about what will happen to them as you go to bed at night. You wake up in the morning and want to visit them again on the computer screen. It's a strange obsession and the longer you're with them, like family, the more you know how they react to certain events. They say to make outlines and plot out every event in a novel, but my best work has been without the planning, just the knowledge who the characters are, what the objective of the novel is, and placing them there and watching them grow and change. If the writing is working well, I find myself getting excited to go back and work on it because I don't even know what they will do next. It's a crazy and weird world but it can gestate in your head for a few months or a decade. It depends on one's priorities. I have 3 novels going I've been working on since around 2003 because everything in life gets in the way and I get bored with one and work on another, then do short stories... A collection of shorts would be a great start. Eventually, you may fall in love with a character or plot enough to want to drag it out into a novel and go for it when you have that passion. If you don't feel it for the situation or the characters, don't do it because it's like a marriage--you're committed once you're in it and a lot of days you go "why the hell did I do this?"

Andrea Allison said...

Exactly. I admire those who take that step and dive in to a novel. I think what has me jumpy about the subject is the novel I'm reading and later reviewing. Everything I like and dislike about it is what I picture readers saying about my novel, if I had written one. The prose is strong in certain points. Not so much in others. A lot of structural problems and so on. I'm notoriously bad at triple checking my work and it seems the author of this novel may have a similar problem. So, yeah...

Jen said...

I am actually the opposite of you, imagining myself trying to fit what I want to say or the plot I want to get across in only a few pages seems next to impossible. I don't think I'm meant for short stories because the minute it's supposed to end I've only just begun.

I don't believe I am the long term project girl, I take an idea and I write until I have nothing left, my muse is amazing, as long as I have a good idea mind you. I had an idea and 5 weeks later I was able to produce 82K words, I impressed even myself and now I'm onto the revisions!!! It's exciting!!