Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Less Like A Mess


I gave myself a deadline to finish a draft of my current novel by the end of summer. By "draft" I mean a thing that starts and ends, with a conflict that makes sense, a conclusion that surprises yet satisfies, language that sings. Something that looks less like a mess of scenes and more like an actual book. 

The summer is half over and I haven't made as much progress as I'd hoped. As it turns out, writing a book is hard. The characters don't listen, the plot unravels mid-sentence, and after three years I still can't figure out which point of view to use. (Currently: all of them. I told you it was a mess.) I also have a habit of reworking the first section until it shines, while the latter pages languish. Which means my first chapter is one of the best things I've ever written, but there's no scaffolding beneath it. I should probably fix that. 

Meanwhile, I've been cheating on my novel with shorter fiction. Earlier this summer, I was grateful to see two pieces find homes with dream journals - a reward for bad behavior, but I'll take it. 

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"Material Remains," Flyway Journal

Our backyard was large and sprawling, cut off from the rest of the neighborhood by a tall white fence. For as long as we could remember, Dad mowed the lawn every Sunday and Mom grew sunflowers near the shed. But that spring, after the trouble started, we were the only ones who ventured past the sliding glass door.

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"An Ocean This Big," Monkeybicycle

Raquel is not a marine biologist, but she can tell right away that the whale washed up on Bellhaven Beach is dying. It’s late winter and the wind gusts, cutting through her coat as she walks along the shore. 

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