I’ve completed a fair number of short stories this year. Seven to date, with more in the pipeline. I’ve continued to tweak, modify and see what works with the seven completed ones as well, so pretty much every time I submit one for possible publication it’s not exactly the same story it was that was previously rejected by one or more of the trades.
Completely novels… that’s turning out to be more problematic.
Currently I have five novels in various stages of work, not including the Mari Sinclair detective story which has been finished and which I’m doing a new editing pass with. My problem is not a lack of ideas. My problem is that I want to write all of them, and I keep jumping around. It’s becoming clear to me that what I need to do more of is complete a draft, and THEN move on to the next one. I can put the draft aside while I focus on the next story, then be editing one novel while drafting another one (and mixing in the shorts for change up).
I tend to reach a point where the writing becomes sticky, where choices made previously have led me down a path I’m not satisified with, and I work on something else for a while and let the novel linger in perpetual limbo. As I’ve thought about this over the past few days, I think the problem has been that, while I make time to write every morning, I write quickly and don’t have time to pause, reflect and then add something more. My writing style is “get the words down” and that’s not been conducive to long term mental planning for the novel.
I can’t outline, though, that’s just a failure from me out of the gate every time I’ve tried it. I feel even more hemmed in, boxed into a corner, unable to let the story breath out. There isn’t a really good solution for this either, the time I’ve carved out to write has to be in the morning, which means it has to be before I head to work, which means I’m limited in how much time I can pause, reflect and think through where the story is going, what direction I and the story want it to take next. Once I’m a full time writing, four to six hours a day will be plenty to meet my goals, but for now I’ll muddle through and try to force myself to work through a story even when it gets sticky.
For now… fairy police story. I’ll try and remain focused on that.