After a brief bout of feeling directionless with writing – ie, not knowing what to work on next (having completed Sam Kane: Into the Fire, currently out for query), I have had a really productive couple of weeks.
First, I wrote a short story. My writer’s group, CSFWG, is putting together an anthology. At first, I wasn’t going to submit for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t actually qualify to submit until August (you have to be a full member more than six months, and I hit that mark in August), and two – I didn’t have any ideas.
They announced the anthology a couple of months ago, but my track record with short stories hasn’t been the best, as regular readers of the blog will know. Writing short stories is an art I am still learning. Your use of language is very important. You need to say a lot with a little, if that makes sense. I tend to be very verbose, leading me to believe that at my heart, I’m a novelist.
Still, I try. It’s a skill I want to have in my writer’s toolbelt.
As for the anthology, there is a theme and a setting, a 3500 word minimum and a 10000 word maximum. Given my nature to write longer pieces, you’d think I was golden. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. It wasn’t until the last meeting in June, that I found myself inspired to put pixel to digital paper. Before I knew it, I had a story crafted.
I even came in with a really decent word count (for me): 3400! That’s when I saw that the minimum for submission is 3500. D’oh. Ah well, an extra thousand words? For me, that should be easy-peasy…
After I wrote this story, another one popped into my head. This is the whole directionless thing happening. Mostly. I decided to go ahead and write the idea out so I can come back to it later. I think this one is a good concept and will lend itself well to the short story format, I just need to flesh it out. Right now, it’s nothing more than a nifty idea. Science fiction, it involves aliens, cover-ups and the legendary Flying Tigers. Yep, the Flying Tigers.
As great as these projects are, I needed something I could really sink my teeth into. After some hemming and hawing, I finally landed on another novel project. I worked out the story idea in my head (I still don’t outline), then started writing. Honestly, it’s really flowing! Last Saturday (the 9th), I set myself a high word count goal of 10k for the week, then I started typing. Last night, I topped 11k!
I tell you what – for me, just knowing the end of the story before I begin writing is the key. If I know the end, the rest falls nicely into place. In this case, I have a really clear picture of the end of this novel, so I am able to see the progression of the story, where the characters need to go, which helps me define their arcs from beginning to end.
Speaking of which, I need to get back to writing…