WriterDrome is a monthly ongoing discussion concerning the mechanics and logistics of writing Horror, Speculative, Dark Fantastic, and Noir Fiction. The aim here is to discuss the many dynamics necessary to write, edit and publish these genres in a continuously changing landscape. Remember, opinions mentioned here are just that, opinions. I’m no expert, but I’ve been writing for a long time, and I feel there is a lot I can pass on to my fellow writers. Lively discussion is highly encouraged.
Attack of The Side Project(s)
Sometimes a writing project gets the best of you. Every writer has folders and folders full of unfinished stories and ideas that somehow slipped into the ether. This is normal, very much akin to creating a playlist of music. I have about twenty different playlists in itunes, all for whatever mood I’m in whenever I’m listening. Is one playlist better than another? No, but sometimes one playlist can sound more appealing than another. Sometimes, you want to listen to nothing but Pink Floyd, or The Eagles, and sometimes you just want to blare Black Label Society or Judas Priest. What you’re feeling has a direct correlation on what writing project you want to work on.
And then there’s the writing project that hangs around like a lover you’ve grown bored with. (God forbid we get bored with our lovers. But then again…) I’ve been working on Blood Junkies for two years now, which is not a big deal. I write slow. Read slow, write slow, always have. Not that I don’t have tremendous bursts of creativity every once in a while and crank out 5000 words in a sitting, or 20000 words in five days like I did the last time I took a week off from work. Two years is a long time, and the story has morphed into something that fits better as a series than a stand alone novel. I’m okay with that. There’s this closeness you get to a project, however, that I feel can be both nurturing and dangerous all at once. Nurturing in that you want to cultivate the characters and tweak the inner-workings to make the story tick like a hand-crafted Swiss watch, and dangerous in that you’ve let your characters take over and they are leading the words you type down a path of self destruction from which you cannot return. There’s no way to gauge which way you’re leaning, every writer is different.
A good way to tell if the story has turned stale is you suddenly have ideas completely not related to what you’re working on. Of course, if you’re a writer, you’re going to have ideas hit you all the time, that’s normal and expected. Most you can file away on the backburner and let them cook for a little while. They’re just ideas, springboards for stories you may or may not write later. Ocassionally one or more ideas will start to burn a little, and before you know it, it’s all you’re thinking about. Forget the project you have dedicated two years of your life for, this new idea is burning, growing in size and shape and suddenly…
ATTACK OF THE SIDE PROJECT!
This is scary. You’ve grown bored with your lover and met someone new. Your mouth turns dry, your heart pounds, and no matter how wrong you know it is, you can’t stop thinking about this new idea. As the idea burns, other ideas begin to grow next to it, then it forms a story. This story is so hot and sexy, and so refreshing that now you’ve forgotten about your old lover. It’s time for someone new.
I used to force these thoughts away. I’m a single man, but have always found it difficult to juggle a couple of women at once. One of the girls always turn out to be the favorite, and the others become heartbroken and upset once they find out. Stories are almost like this, yet thankfully they are not. You can’t break your story’s heart. Sometimes it’s just as easy to realize that maybe your old story has grown tired of you as well.
Prolific writer Stephen Graham Jones recently completed a novel in thirteen (13) days. A Novel. Thirteen days. Talk about striking while the iron was hot. I’m not sure if he felt the Attack of The Side Project here, or if he was between writing projects, but nonetheless, he was inspired to write, and continued writing until he finished the project. Whether he was “Attacked” or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that sometimes inspiration strikes, and you must act. I guess seeing what he did inspired me as well. Though I’m smack dab in the middle of a writing project as well as a couple of short stories, I’ve been inspired by inspiration, if that makes sense. I’ve been Attacked, and I’m acting on it. Should I worry about Blood Junkies getting a little nervous about this romantic tryst? Should I fear her jealousy? Frankly, it doesn’t matter. Perhaps she’s grown tired of her author, and means to spend a little time with her friends, just hanging out and chilling, knowing that one day soon, I’ll come running back, and we can take off right where we left off.
So don’t become discouraged because another story is knocking on your door. If struck by inspiration, and the urge is strong enough, act on it and write. Sometimes it’s much better to date around before settling on your true love.
Livius Nedin and Robb Olson at Booked review Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf, and I must say this is a book I am very keen on reading. Taking a well-worn concept like werewolves and infusing new life into the subject matter by making it rather serious and smart surely was a daunting task, though I understand Mr. Duncan was probably one of the best writers for the job. Take some time to give the review a listen by clicking right here.