I’ve been away for a few days quietly working.
No I don’t mean my usual paid copy writing work, but work on an actual short story, start to finish.
For too long I have been dabbling at being a writer: typing out a few more pages of my novel; discussing the plot between characters in my head; writing about the process here on this blog….
But none of that was actually doing anything – just trying to make me feel more like a writer, rather than a pretender to the writer’s throne.
Now, I am one of those people who detects charlatans a mile off. And I was beginning to detect myself as one!
It is no lie that I have some 50k words completed on my novel, but the whole process of writing something so long was beginning to drag me down (not to mention that many of those 50k words will probably be shredder material once the novel is actually finished and edited). So I decided to do something to prove to myself I could still write and get published.
So over the last five days I have written, edited, re-written and finally sent off a new short story.
The strange thing is, although I had many part-finished short stories stored away on my PC, this one was new from start to finish. I found a publisher asking for stories for a themed horror anthology and went for it.
The theme – creatures of the night (emphasis on actual creatures) – is not something I had considered before. My horror story writing is usually of the creepy ghost kind. The audience, Young Adult, was not something I had seriously considered before either. But letting the idea scurry around in my head produced a story, so I went for it.
The main drawback here was a seven day deadline from the date I found the call for submissions. This means that only I, my long-suffering husband and my friend up the road have read the story. So, even though I have been vicious in editing, strict on getting POV’s correct and have ensured that my use of adverbs is almost non-existent, I know deep down that asking for input from a beta reader would have helped make my story more suitable for publication. But I didn’t have the time.
So I will not be disappointed when I receive a rejection slip (ok, I’m lying. I will be disappointed, but I know it is likely to happen).
But the process of writing that short story, start to finish, was so satisfying I can hardly believe it.
After the experience of completing my short story, I now know I can write a story, sticking to publisher guidelines and following rules on ‘show don’t tell’, POV, etc, which had been getting me down. I also feel confident that the story will eventually sell, perhaps not in the form I submitted to the publisher, but close enough.
In other words, I have my confidence back.
Of course, this still doesn’t prove that I can produce a novel. As I said in my post Can a Writer Of Short Stories Write A Novel, those thoughts still concern me a little, but now at least I know that when time necessitates I can be disciplined in my approach to writing.
So all I need now is for a publisher to tell me that he or she wants my novel completed in six months time. That should do it. 🙂