Working like this is the only way that makes sense, even if it is tricking myself.

So I’ve got this thing I’m working on. It’s a novel, Science Fantasy, you know, with castles, vat-grown flesh, and pistols in it. Its working title is Clusterfuck, a Novel. It rose out of two distinct stacks of story corpses. The characters in both stacks resemble each other and some of the thematic stuff is similar enough that I’m mashing them together to see if they form a new entity with an actual plot.

Simultaneously I can’t forget they’re also a pile of story corpses: jagged beginnings, characters without plots, situations without resolutions, junk like that, and I’m scavenging and cannibalizing so I can make a Frankenstein Monster Draft I can then rewrite and cannibalize again to find the more supple and sleek monster within.

Writing those first thousand words, even on Draft 0, terrifies me, but taking half a dozen collapsed stories and pasting them into one document gets me so deep into the maze that I feel like I’ve rocketed past the gate and left the fear of starting behind me.

And that’s a good thing.

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2 responses to “Working like this is the only way that makes sense, even if it is tricking myself.”

  1. nic01a says :

    I was interesed to read your views on starting a novel. I am now 40,000 words into my very first novel, and as yet, have done very little editing. It scares me to death. What do you do to edit your stories? How do you even know when to stop?

  2. Justin says :

    Shoot, I don’t even know where to start because largely I’m still floundering around.

    With a short story, an ending emerges, you write it, and it either works or it doesn’t, after a certain point fiddling does more harm than just moving on to the next story. Setting stuff aside before you edit it helps, especially if you’re still writing in the meantime and improving.

    As far as any of this applies to novels–well, I’m figuring that out too.

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