With freelance writing deadlines looming, year-end errands and the complete renovation of this blog site in the works, I’ve had to put THE NOVEL aside for a little while.
But that doesn’t mean it’s in cold storage.
It would be more accurate to say it’s on a low flame, simmering away. I was awakened by it the other morning. Between six and seven-thirty I wrote down five ideas — good ones — for this very long story with a huge cast of characters and stories within the main story.
I’ve devoted most of the last few years to novellas and short stories. I’ve always said that writing was writing and, to a large extent it’s true, but there’s nothing like full-length storytelling. It’s the big cat — the lion, the king of the jungle — while my short stories are much smaller monsters.
I’ve read all too many novels that run out of steam about a third of the way through, others that seem to vamp (and vamp and vamp and vamp) artificially extending the tale with useless digressions or repetition. I’m trying, very hard, to learn from the “mistakes” I’ve read and incorporate my lean short story writing approach to a longer, and much more complex, story.
Do any of you have suggestions about how to avoid those classic pitfalls?
I’ve tried to write this one before. I simply wasn’t ready. I hope I am now. I’m using my old research and the skeleton of the plot from the last time in the trenches, but I’ve rethought most of the characters and the voice is entirely different.
I’ll be back at this over New Years. Wish me a happy NOVEL year.