Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Getting the Words Out

I've been letting my writing blog collect dust. That's not a good thing. If I stay out of touch with writing about writing, then what does that say about my writing? Actually, what does that say about my logic process?

Well, anyhow, I thought I should blow off the dust and get back to talking about what I'm doing, since if I know that people are looking at me, I'll be less inclined to just sit there like a tool.

I was hitting some snags with writing the novel I'm currently working on. Even when I wasn't stuck trying to figure out what to write, the actual writing was really starting to grind for a while. It's not often that the act of sitting and writing feels like a chore to me, but in this case, it was. I've looked at things and I've tried to figure out why that was, but I can't find a satisfying answer; the immediate problem seems to have resolved itself, though, and so long as it doesn't recur, I guess I don't need to fret too much about the reason.

I took a spring writing class that focused on dialogue. It was technically a screenwriting class, and so I didn't quite get the usual in-class banter that I normally find helpful in writing classes (since I didn't have a lot in common with what other folks were writing), but the instructor himself was extremely helpful and intelligent, and I got a lot of good feedback on what I was doing, if nothing else. One of the things that the instructor liked to stress, though, was the methodology of just getting your shitty first draft onto the page. That's something I can empathize with, since after writing my first novel and redrafting it several times, I've seen how much work goes into changing things, but I can also see how much work is accomplished just by getting the damn story out of the way, first.

So, even while embracing the idea that I just need to write the story even if the draft itself sucks, I was still trudging and plodding through actually writing this new novel over the last few months. It seemed kind of counterintuitive to myself, since I knew I didn't want or even expect it to be any good, and yet even just trying to fling words onto the page that got the general point across wasn't working.

But, like I already said, I seem to have somehow gotten over that, and as long as I stay gotten over it, that's fine by me.

For those curious, this first draft of this new novel is still nowhere near complete: I'm only on Chapter Six after, oh, many, many months of writing. I hope that the same thing that happened with my last novel happens with this one, where I hit the halfway point, stall for a week, and then have the most awesome epiphany ever and even up churning out the second half of the book in a frenzied month of writing bliss. I'm not sure that'll happen here, though, since the story itself is so different, and it just requires a different treatment overall. Maybe it's the "being different" part that's got me all wonky.

In the meantime, I think it'll be helpful to focus on additional, smaller side-projects. That's hard to do when taking a class (and it's what happened when I was writing my old novel last year, too). Now that I'm class-free (wait, is that how I want to phrase that?), I can probably find some time to get some short stories out of my brain on the side, too. Though actually, I do still have close to half a dozen short stories that died on the page from last year, and I'm not sure I have the heart, the mind, or the patience to go back and resurrect any of them, even if one or two of them probably deserve to be finished.

The other thing that should inspire further writing on my behalf is the fact that, earlier this month, I finally got published for legit, for real-reals!

My first story can be found in Sofawolf Press's new anthology, New Fables. I'm actually pretty proud of this story; it takes place in a fantasy world that I've accidentally continued to write in, the same world featured in my story "The Peculiar Quandary of Simon Canopus Artyle". I actually really like writing in this world, and I daresay that I find enough potential in it that I'll almost certainly write more for it.

I've got another story in Bad Dog Books' anthology ROAR, Volume 1. This is a story that takes place in the same world that the novels I keep talking about take place in. It's not directly related to either of them, but I like to think it fleshes out the setting in... well, in an admittedly unusual way. It was very much an experimental piece for me, but in the end, I'm happy enough with it.

Anyhow, that's what's been happening with me and writing, lately. I'll make a point to not let this place decay and go dead like it's been for the last few months.

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