I’ve finally finished something. After going an entire year last year without finishing anything (over 5000 words, anyway) it really does feel good to be able to say that.
I’ve been working on a novella; a space opera with a “Scarlet Pimpernel” flavor. I initially wanted it to be a novel, but decided that it would make an odd novel the way I’d plotted it, so why not take the first chunk and write it separately? There’s nothing wrong with novellas, after all. Some of my favorite Brandon Sanderson works are novellas.
So still-unnamed-Scarlet-Pimpernel-Space-Opera project came in just under 38,000 words, half-way to a short novel. And it was fun! Oh, sure, it needs some work. A lot of work. But I finished it, and it was fun! I didn’t really plot it out, either, so it proved to be full of surprises.
Like the ending. I had been imagining something a little more concrete, a little more “and this is how they came to work together”. But as I was writing today at lunch I hit a point that just seemed the more honest place to leave it. This turned out not to be the “origins” story I had originally envisioned, but focused more on the arc of the narrator. Fulfilling that arc seemed the right note to end on.
So what next? I don’t know. This one goes in the “trunk” for a little while, at least, until it’s unfamiliar enough to come back for an editorial pass. My Futurescapes Writers Workshop is coming up in exactly two weeks. I need to select the excerpt I intend to workshop so I can get copies made for everyone involved.
But after that I’m not sure. I don’t currently have any stories scratching to be let out. I have a couple of manuscripts I wouldn’t mind working over some more. I have also realized lately that the project I worked on in vain all last year was doomed from the start simply because I’d boxed myself into a storyline that didn’t really work. And I’m beginning to learn that I’m not very patient with my own writing. I want things to move forward far more quickly than they need to sometimes. Other writers get away with several paragraphs of description all the time, but I somehow think I’m being too wordy if I take my eyes off the goal for that long.
This has to change. So perhaps I need to do with that project what I did with this one: identify the pieces in play, and then just write and see where it really goes. I don’t think my problem is that I wasn’t capable of writing that story, I just think I forgot to tell the story I wanted to read. I didn’t enjoy it, and so it became work. I’ve already got a job. Writing needn’t become a chore, too.
Anyway, I don’t know what’s next, frankly. And that doesn’t bother me, at least for the moment. I finished a novella. I intend to take a little time to appreciate that fact.