Chapter One, Again

Saturday, August 26th, 2006 • 1 Comment on Chapter One, Again

I sat in traffic for an hour today.  Although I’m not terribly bothered by traffic, I hate wasting time, so I made the most of it by scheduling appointments, returning phone calls, text messaging a couple of people (yes, I know, I shouldn’t text while driving) and making some notes on a couple of projects I’m working on.  I think if I drove anything bigger than a Miata, I might have pulled out my laptop and tried to write a few hundred words.  Good thing I drive a Miata, huh?

It is the last days of summer and while I didn’t accomplish all of my lofty goals over my summer break, I have shifted gears a bit.  I’m prioritizing my writing a little differently in order to fit novel writing back into the mix.  It’s slow going, mostly because making the transition from short fiction to novel length fiction requires a completely different writing process.  It’s like going from running the hundred yard dash to running a 10K.  It’s still running (writing), but it’s a different strategy.

Of course, I can’t give up short fiction entirely.  First, I love writing short fiction.  It’s deceptive in its brevity—one would think it’s easy to write a short story, unless one has attempted it.  There is an art to writing short and while I haven’t yet mastered it, I still enjoy the challenge.  Second, as I’ve said before, short fiction is immediate gratification.  Or as immediate as anything can be in the snail’s pace world of publishing.  I like writing a story and selling it while it’s still fresh in my memory.  I’ve literally forgotten the plots to a couple novels I’ve written—while they were still being submitted!  Third, I’ve built enough of a reputation writing short fiction (and, yes, I mean erotica, though I don’t categorize my writing that way—it’s short story, novel or essay in my mind) that I get private invitations to submit.  Even if I stopped seeking out new markets to write for, I don’t think I could turn my back on requests for my work.  Writing short fiction has brought me into contact with a bunch of incredible editors and publishers and I’ve been doing this long enough to know better than to take for granted a single sale or word of encouragement.  Call me foolish, but I like being told I’m a good writer.  It beats the three-inch thick folder of rejection letters I’ve received for various novels over the years.

Still, having said all that, it’s nice to be delving back into longer fiction.  I miss it when I’m not working on a novel, and heaven knows I’ve gone long, long stretches without writing more than 15 consecutive pages.  I’ve been working on a partially finished novel, but today as I sat in unexplainable Friday afternoon traffic, I had an idea for a different book.  Who knows whether anything will come of it, but it’s nice to be thinking in terms of chapters instead of scenes. 

I may actually finish a novel one of these days.  I may even get around to submitting it.  What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but the possibilities are exciting.

Posted by Kristina in Writing
  • Scout says:

    I just discovered your site and wanted to tell you that I understand what you’re saying—what I think you’re saying, at any rate—about the luxury of writing a novel. I tend to discover the story I truly want to tell as I’m writing it, and because the short story format demands that every detail further the plot, it’s fairly hostile to the writer who likes to roam and explore her world as she creates it. Then again, there’s something to be said for your old friend immediate gratification.

    Good luck on your return to long-form fiction.

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