On November 18th of alternate years, Mr Earbrass begins writing ‘his new novel’. Weeks ago he chose its title at random from a list of them he keeps in a little green note-book. It being tea-time of the 17th, he is alarmed not to have thought of a plot to which The Unstrung Harp might apply…
–Edward Gorey, The Unstrung Harp
I finished a novel this year, finally. It took me a very long time to write and rewrite, and I am still unsure what I am doing commercially as I look for an agent.
Fellow writers immediately asked me what my new novel would be.
Honestly, I had no idea. I still don’t. This may be what a generous person could call a process. Just as Demon did, the new novels seem to be finding me. A local web newspaper asked me to try a serial historical mystery. My last short story has the seeds of a short novel.
But the push seems unseemly. I want to date a bit after my long divorce. It won’t take so long next time. Of course, it will take less time if I immediately put to work the skills I just mastered.
Thing is, there is a professional value in having short work to submit. If it is strange and niche, so be it, better I learn this now; but I also have two modern-day stories in outline. Skills I honed on the novel get used in all writing. I’ve certainly learned to keep things brief in the first draft, to save editing later. It can always grow, in depth and richness — start by making it move.
The question of genre is bedeviling. My genre is dense stories of problematic people failing to connect. I don’t see good actors only appearing in one kind of movie (though that does happen in New York stage theater). I just want to be a hydroponic medium for stories, a special streamlined soil in which they can grow colorful and strange.
Perhaps this is too much to ask. I will have to see where I find a toehold.
I am sorry to have been away for a while. I thank my continued readers and commenters (even on a tech post!)