Friday, January 23, 2009

Back to my true love for a while

I know I posted a few weeks ago about starting a new novel, but I've been having trouble getting started. Maybe it's because it will require a TON of research and maybe because it just seems foreboding to start a huge project, but I've been working on some short pieces instead. And you know what? I enjoy is so much more. I've always been a short story lover, ever since an English teacher long ago assigned dear Flannery as homework.

I think I have about 15 subscriptions to literary magazines, and I read many online. I just prefer the structure, the freedom to explore unsavory characters, the experimental voice, and the themes often found in short stories. Of course, I read novels as well--every night. But many times I find myself thinking that I would have edited out about 1/4 of the book. No one is asking me, though, and maybe it's a reflection of my attention span.

Anyway, I do realize that this means I'll likely be toiling in obscurity for a good long while. Oh well, I'll be toiling happily.

How's your writing (or any other project) going?


Angie Ledbetter said...

Best of both worlds, IMHO. Work on shorter pieces while having a larger WIP going. If the research stops you, why not skip over it and just leave a gap to fill in after completion and during edits? :)

Janna Leadbetter said...

You know what? I have to agree. Though I don't want to give up my novel writing, I sometimes think the short stuff is so much "simpler" - for all the reasons you said. Why can't I have the same kind of success with voice and flow - and motivation! - with the lengthier stuff as I do the shorter stuff?

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

I'm still burning through edits on my novel. My copy editor said she's impressed and feels the story is getting tighter. So, for now, I'll hold on just a little bit tighter now baby...(remember that great song?) and keep on rocking, I mean, editing.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

Wendy, I think it's great that you're writing what you enjoy. If it means you're being productive, even better! I wrote one piece of flash fiction and started two others, but I just haven't felt the urge. I do want to get into shorts more, but I don't think I'm feeling it just yet.

I haven't been writing since my 3rd draft is with readers, but I have been working on my query & synopsis. To say it's been a joy would be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's not all bad.

Anita said...

WHEN THE ELEPHANTS DANCE is a fabulous novel that almost feels like a bunch of short stories hooked together. Maeve Binchy's books feel that way, too. Maybe your writing can go that direction?

Heck...what am I saying? You know what's best for you.

colbymarshall said...

I find myself thinking I'd edit half books out of thigns I read to. I also do this with movies. Like "It would've been so much better if they'd chopped the first thirty minutes," etc.

I'm a little stalled on my WIP. Just need a break for a day or two to rejuvenate.

WendyCinNYC said...

Angie--It takes place in 1905, so I think I need to get a good amount of research in before I start. I'm not exactly writing what I know!

Janna--I hear ya!

Debbie--Keep on keepin on.

Melanie--I didn't mind query writing so much, but I think my synopsis still stinks.

Anita--I'll check out that book. Thanks. I would disagree about me knowing what's best for me, though! I'm still getting there.

Colby--I'm the same way with movies, ESPECIALLY since I've been writing more. Of course, it's much easier to edit than it is to create! GL on your WIP.

Janet said...

If you're happy with that, do it. Maybe you can be the American Alice Munro.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Wendy! I'm struggling with draft #3 of my novel, but I write short stories on the side to help keep me going. And they seem to be the pieces I'm able to publish, so these "small victories" encourage me to continue with the novel.

Spy Scribbler said...

Wendy, I didn't even know there were 15 literary magazines! I love the short story, too. I wrote about fifty of them, but in the last couple years, I've been so busy with novellas.

Short stories rock! They make you write better long fiction, too. I'm convinced of it.

Daniel Bell said...

About your impulse to edit out a quarter of the novels you read . . . You are right. Editors don't edit much anymore. I remember reading David Guterson's Snow falling on Cedars, a pretty good literary murder mystery. Problem was way too much literary troweled into the mystery. I found myself literally skipping chunks of ten pages at a time near the end to get to the resolution of the plot. Drove me nuts. It was just over 450 pages. Had I edited it, it would have been not a page over 300. Would have been tighter, just as literary and sold twice as many copies.

Ladybird World Mother said...

I am in just the same place as you at the moment... so I think I will sit back and enjoy it just like you are... love your blog, by the way!