Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Return to Normalcy

It's been a LONG time since I felt "normal." Last year, I took several college classes that are finally over (though I may go back for more classes some day, depending on other events in my life over the next few years). I got a promotion with a raise, and I tried to start a business. All of those things combined together to make my regular "life" rather chaotic for pretty much all of 2015.

On the plus side, I finished the first draft of a novel, toyed around with some short stories, and got a college certificate. Other things happened, too, that made the chaos totally worth it.

But aside from taking an extra day off this week (I used Monday as a brew day since the in-laws returned home and my wife went back to work), this week feels like a normal routine. What I mean by this is that I got up in the morning, worked on my writing/critique reading, then went to work. I worked a full day, during which I focused on my job but also chewed over some short story ideas, then went home and followed my evening routine (cook supper, watch TV, and pretend to write). Except I've actually been writing. Last night, I wrote the first draft of a very short short story. And this morning I started a second one.

I'm going to be honest: I'm not sure how to write a short story. I can quote theories, and I can point at other short stories in my critique group and give them (proven) useful advice, but I don't know how to translate it to my own process. Reading short stories doesn't help much, either, because regardless of the market, I feel like "matching the feel" of other stories (by studying other stories and developing my own style) just makes my stories flat, unreadable, and (based on publisher response) not right for the markets. As I said last week, this is something I'm going to work on this year. Writing short stories has never been a passion. I love longer works of fiction, especially when I'm writing.

But I do truly enjoy well-written shorts. I want to get involved in that work, and I want to use this opportunity to improve myself as a writer, a creator, and as a member of the community. I may talk a lot about this in the coming year as it's going to be a major part of my actual WRITING (non-editing/non-querying) time, so be prepared to see a lot of short story-related topics in the future.

On that note, any advice for me or other writers?

Giles is working, despite wanting to just sit around and relax. He's also going to READ a lot this year, which SHOULD help.

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