I have a notepad – two, actually – that contains the novel I’m working on. Draft one was done in Evernote but it’s…well…it’s a first draft. As soon as I finished it, the moment I typed the last period, I knew there were a multitude of problems with it, chief among them that it felt rushed. As I sought to revise it I found that editing on the computer just wasn’t working for me. I couldn’t focus on it. So instead of changing that draft I felt I’d leave it intact and go offline for the second pass. The experience has been drastically different. It’s more natural, it flows better and it just feels like a more cohesive story.
That novel is just one of a myriad of fiction I’ve been writing recently, mostly in the last year. You may have noticed I’ve been publishing at least some of that here, usually short stories of under 1,000 words, often spurred by a writing prompt of some sort or a funny scenario someone shared on Twitter. What’s odd is that it’s not really something I’ve done a whole lot of in the past, at least not since college.
But now I’m feeling the fiction muse flow through me more freely. It was like the first couple times I attempted it a cork was unstuck and now I’m drawn into more and more of it. Evernote may not be where I’m doing much drafting but it is being used to capture the scenarios and ideas I have for future stories.
Part of this too is just my wanting to stretch myself as a writer. I *like* writing fiction, there just haven’t been very many opportunities to do so in the last several years. Having some time recently, though, has taken that excuse or impediment out of the mix and I’m free to explore that a bit more.
I’m not going to claim to be a great fiction writer. I still struggle with making dialogue that doesn’t sound like it’s coming from an animatronic amusement park figure that was programmed using a script that was translated from English to Japanese and back again. That’s part of why I keep doing it, though, to get better at it.
The ultimate goals with this are three:
First: To finish the novel. That this is still not done is sitting there like a big open loop in my mind. I need to get it done and close the circuit so it’s not circling around my brain like a buzzard waiting for the wayfaring stranger to die so it can finally eat. I’m going to explore getting an agent and actually having this professionally published but if that doesn’t work out I will be working on self-publishing options.
Second: Just self-improvement. I don’t like not being good at a certain style of writing and so want to add this to the list of areas I can perform at a professional, reliable level at. This is part of why I’m publishing much of what I write, to show the work in progress and make it clear this is what I’m doing, it’s a part of the overall mix of my skills.
Third: Fiction capabilities make me more marketable. If I have a body of work I can point to, including published short and other stories then that’s one more component of my overall writing skills that can help me find a gig I might otherwise have passed by because there’s no chance I’m going to be considered.
Mostly, though, it’s just because it’s been kind of fun. It gets my brain moving in a different direction than Yet Another Op Ed On Movie Marketing/Content Marketing/Job Search. I understand that it may seem a little out of left field on this blog given that it’s not something I’ve written before and it may not be completely in line with making this a professional site that shows off what an Important And Serious Person I am. But, as I said, it adds a bit of spice to things and provides a bit more of a full picture into just the kind of creative and off-kilter mind it is at work here. I’d rather be true to myself and a bit weird than try to fit in and be boring.