Seems like an easy question. Seems like something that an author would know. Ha! Joke’s on me! And now I’m beating my head against my desk.
I’ve written my book with the intention of it being aimed at adult women. Never mind that the story’s protagonist is a seventeen-year-old girl. That is not the determining factor. But I have felt that the story is missing something – some depth to the main character. I wonder if in adding it I am shifting the perspective for the reader – something that I didn’t want to do because this is not YA or New A or anything involving the younger set.
But that’s an arbitrary box to stick myself in, isn’t it?
So off I go considering this new bent. It may lead to a dead-end, and darn it that is frustrating to consider. What if I’m chasing too many proverbial rabbits down too many proverbial holes? Is this what the editing process is supposed to be like? No wonder I ran from it with my first novel.
Someone say a prayer, please, so I don’t go insane or, worse, give up all together!
Movies are an exciting art form, and I would argue that the musical score gets credit for about 90% of the impact. Imagine watching Star Wars without that famous song. Imagine watching Halloween without that creepy piano. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that horror is not my friend, but I have a weird husband who likes to watch horror movies on fast forward (to get to the good parts – the sicko) and, therefore, without volume. Well, I can tell you that chain saws are a lot less scary if you can’t hear them and the shrieking victims. Our sense of hearing is vital in helping us receive the story’s message.
What can this have to do with the written word, you ask?
Well, I once read a novel by Maxime Chattam who suggested that the reader enjoy his novel, The Cairo Diary, while listening to the same soundtrack that influenced him during the creative process. I admit that I didn’t do it, but I might go back and try. There may be something to it. There certainly may be something to it as a writer.
When listening to the radio on my drive home from work, a song will make me think of my novel – of the tension and emotion that I feel in the story and that I want to jump off of the page. So, why not listen to those same songs while writing? Maybe it really would help infuse some energy into the story. It’s worth a try, anyway.
About ten years ago an author at the Dragon Con Writer’s Track told me that if I can write a novel I shouldn’t bother writing short stories. That advice suited me just fine since I had no interest in the lesser version of writing anyway.
Turns out that the author and I were wrong. Here’s why:
- Short stories are fun. For someone used to hammering away at the same narrative for years on end, the process of conceiving and completing a story in a matter of days or weeks is refreshing.
- Same thing goes with the process of submissions. By the end of this week I’ll have submitted two short stories for publication, and it’s motivating to have more than one egg in my basket.
- To my surprise, a satisfying story line does not have to have length in order to be robust or complete.
- Similarly, short stories provide an author with a different set of challenges that are fun to tackle. It is not a lesser version of writing, and shame on me for thinking otherwise.
So for anyone who has never delved beyond their preferred method of writing, I say take a leap. You’re sure to learn something new, and you’re likely to have fun along the way.