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.