Tuesday, May 4, 2010

An Embarrassment of Fiction

The expression "too many irons in the fire" might be overused to the point of blandness, but it's accurate. I tend toward long-term projects — novels — which means I don't get the chance to celebrate "the end" as often as I'd like.

Right now, I have several novels in some stage of progress. One is hard to classify, I've never written anything like it before, and it's gonna be controversial, but my father is demanding I hurry up and finish it. I want to oblige him — hey, I want to know how the story ends, too! — but there are other languishing projects, including one I'm writing for my eldest niece. She's probably given up on me, or figures she'll be reading the story to her own children by the time it's finished.

The story began a couple years ago when I was battling pneumonia and couldn't do much but lie there and think between bouts of sleeping or coughing. Tonight, as I was looking around for an imagination jump-start before beginning work on another manuscript, I re-read some of the earlier paragraphs of "Jamie's book", and concluded that a passage I'd thought boring was actually 1) full of necessary details, and 2) a classic cliffhanger. I needed that reminder as I set to work on the SF serial. (photo right, Thieves' Honor as of April 2010)

Sometimes a writer's best encouragement or inspiration comes from reminding oneself of all the words already written — and that some of those words are actually worth reading. "Hey, I did it once. I can do it again." Writing is one of those professions that often requires a practitioner to go back to the beginning before being able to progress to the end.

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