Sunday, January 9, 2011

First week down, 51 to go ...

Posted my progress on the Write 1 Sub 1 blog: finished one story and submitted it to a contest. Finished writing a second story, but it needs revising and cutting down, since it's 17 words too long for the contest it's intended for.

Writing in the short story format is proving to be quite difficult. Normally for novels, I get a single burning great idea, and I can spend years on that one novel. (Heck, make that nine years. That's how long I've been working on Sparkless!) With Nanowrimo, I now have at least four novels that need finishing/revising.

I decided this "write one, sub one" idea was the perfect thing to get me to sit down and just WRITE. Something different every week. Something that I can sit and read through in a small amount of time and quickly revise. It's so hard not to spend days or weeks revising something I've written. I know I'm impossible to please with my own stuff, so the "submission" part is helping me with that. My main goal with this is to learn how to write good short stories and get some great feedback from publishers in the field in the process. If I get published along the way, that's a bonus.

But coming up with ideas is hard. I usually get my novel ideas from dreams, but I don't remember my dreams often enough to do a short story a week with it. Nor do they always make enough sense to lend themselves to story writing. These first two stories I've written I think I've made as interesting as I could, but there's nothing really new about them. One is based on a newspaper article I read about a local woman who killed her husband. The second is based on a theme for a contest about something important being lost and then found by someone else. Again, the same problem: I think I wrote it well, but the idea isn't new.

I think I'm frustrated by the constant pressure from the outside world to write "new" stuff, ideas that haven't been done before, concepts that haven't been explored. But is there really anything left in the world that's new? For heaven's sake, we've come to sparkly vampires as popular entertainment. I got really ticked off when I read "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." I mean, if all I had to do was take an old novel and thrust a few zombie scenes into it, then why didn't all those books on writing say so in the first place?!

Granted, I'm not writing because I want to be a famous author or make tons of money from it. Heck, if I wanted to be famous, I probably should have run off to New York and tried to make it on Broadway. I think I'm a better singer than I am a writer.

I want to entertain people. I want people to love what I write, what I sing, what I make as much as I love other writers' work, other performers' songs, and other artists' creations. I don't want to write like Tamora Pierce, I just want to make others feel the way I feel when I read her Tortall novels. Performing in Nunsense II this weekend, I was exhausted to the core, but I relish the laughter I get from the audience and the fact that some of them are crying as I sing my goodbye song. The moment I step on stage, the energy comes racing back. (Though it does desert me once more as soon as I step off the stage!)

Whew. Okay, that was kind of heavy!

I know one of my faults as a short story writer is that I've read very few short stories in my life. Most of them were read in college in English classes. I'm not sure why I can't get into reading more of them. I love novels so much, why not shorter versions as well? Maybe I just haven't tried hard enough. Maybe I need to put down "The Count of Monte Cristo" and read some shorts instead. (On page 508 of 1,058 of that, BTW.) There are just so many, it's hard to wade through the info and find a place to start.

Starting to get the desire to revise my second short story. Please excuse me.

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