Recalibrating

Since April, or so, I’ve been writing and posting some of my serial fiction in various places. I received some feedback (mostly from friends) and got a lot of words in (which is the key to improving) but I’ve hit a road block.

In The Shape of Us, what started out as an experiment in POV has turned muddy. I wanted to see if I could tell a story from the point of view of side, or incidental characters and while there are episodes that I think work better than others and the idea has been beneficial in a number of ways, ultimately, I felt drawn toward creating a master narrative (a mystery in this case) that kept pulling me away from my experiment. The episodes became less about the POV character and were bent to fill the need to progress the overarching plot. I felt like I was writing a novella from the inside out.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Baron and Sykes and a few of the side characters, but that love didn’t get conveyed to my (very, very few) readers. Without existing inside one or both of my main characters, it was harder to connect to them and it became increasingly hard for me to write them without resulting to repetition or cliche. Perhaps this is more inline with my inexperience as a writer, but I am choosing to focus on genre as the issue here.

It had all started out as a flash fiction and I enjoyed the process of writing from a side character, that I forgot that Baron and Sykes then had to fade into the background, that they would become the side characters. I like them too much for that.

I’m stopping the series where it is, because no one is really following it anyway, and I want to see if I can rework the “background plot” into the main plot and then bring it to life from the boys perspective. As I write this sentence, I’m falling in love with this idea. The boys will be back. Soon.

Wound: Thirst is also going on hiatus, but not for long. I’m excited by the story, but I’ve lost touch with the characters and what I want them to do. I think in the excitement of writing serially, I forgot a lot of sensory detail that would provide depth to the story. I’ve been taking Dean Wesley Smith’s “Depth” course this summer and am finding it super helpful. Around week 2, I thought, “I’m not sure this is for me.” Then I realized it was exactly what my writing was missing.

My ensemble feels flat right now and, trying to write for the serial audience didn’t exactly push me to make them deeper. It’s possible that what I really want to do is write a long piece as if they are a series of shorter piece, which is what a novel or novella is anyway. I want this story to move fast, but get down into the feelings and motivations of these characters. I feel as if I’ve scratched the surface.

My plan this week is to take the first couple of episodes in Wound and rewrite them, keeping the action/plot but adding the sensory and descriptive details that will help readers get into the story. I think by testing out how I can immerse myself in writing, I’ll get a good understanding of how to proceed. I can think of the original 25 episodes as an outline. If all goes well, I’m hoping to have the first novella ready to publish this fall.

I feel like all the other writers that start and abandon projects. There are so many half-started projects lurking in various hard drives that I know more about quitting than finishing, but I feel strongly that the writing is more important than the outlet and the writing my stories need is something more than what I’m doing. I’ll keep reading on those platforms and I’m grateful to those who read my stories, but I think until I find a story that’s perfect (something with alpha werewolves or an intricate leveling-up system, apparently) I’ll just get back to writing.

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