So, I’m writing. All sorts of things. There’s a big folder there crammed with ideas. A notebook full of half-written stories lies right next to it. And then there’s that novel that has been racing around my mind for a long time now, waiting to find deeper form than a series of character notes and snippets.
But there’s always that moment when the ‘car crash’ happens. Feelings of discomfort, worrying over the content and style. A fear of continuing in case you fail.
My biggest problem at the moment is having ideas that go nowhere. I have a situation, a character, a ‘moment’. But as soon as I start writing, I suddenly realise that there isn’t enough plot here for a short story. No big twist, not enough event. So, unhealthily, I am jumping from one idea to the next, then abandoning ship. Have you ever been there? How did you overcome it?
I have one answer. I have decided to revisit a short story I was working on a while back, which has a full plot already down on paper. The reason I gave up hope on this one was because there wasn’t enough incident. My mission now is to create incident. Make it exciting! Bring it to life! The other ideas I have scribbled down, they’ll all find life someday, if they’re meant to. I might cannibalise them, combine them, or just steal little bits from them. Nothing ever gets thrown away, of course. Although, occasionally, things do get lost.
I want to focus on short stories, before committing to the novel, because I feel that I should try and build up a back-catalogue of completed works that I can learn from, before tackling something much larger. Stephen King had a large body of short fiction published before his debut novel. I’m taking a metaphorical leaf out of one of his books, I suppose.
So here I suddenly am. Trying to resurrect an old idea that I poured my heart and soul into a few years ago, only to ruthlessly abandon it without mercy. I hope I can make it work. I hope I can reignite that spark, and find a way to make the story engaging. Time will tell, I suppose.
The beauty of being a writer is, technically, although writing this post has been a form of procrastination, it is still writing, and furthermore, writing about the thing that I am procrastinating away from! Does that mean I’m clever, or devious?
And one last, completely unrelated ‘thing’: When does a short story stop being a short story, and start being a novella?