Monday, July 24, 2006


Recently, I re-discovered my folder of original fiction and it was shocking to me just how *much* of it there was. Usually, when someone asks to see my stories, there's a particular one I send out -- "Nocturne" (Harry, you may remember this one) -- and it's like the other stories just don't exist. So I guess it's not true that every writer has her favorite story -- mine is most certainly "Nocturne" (I'd even forgotten that I'd written a sappy, schmoopy sequel to that one because some now former colleagues of mine had disliked the ambiguity of the original ending).

It's been interesting to re-read them and figure out what's changed over time, what's stayed the same. As a writer, I don't think my focus has changed -- I still like writing about little moments loaded with meaning, little moments that can change a shape of a relationships. My momentary flirtation with space battles aside, I prefer the quiet and the ordinary, and I like dialogue that is restrained and held back, because in real life, I think we wish people would be honest and direct, but conversations don't always go that way; what people don't say is often just as important, if not more, than what they do say.

I was much more sparse with my prose back then than I am now. I don't think I'd quite accomplished the balance between exposition and dialogue and description is something I'm still working on. I was also seriously influenced by short shorts or 'sudden' fiction, and I've gotten way, way away from that style of writing now. I loved the idea of crafting a short story that encapsulated an entire mood or sentiment in just a few pages, and while I acknowledged it was difficult back then, I know even better now: it's very, very difficult to pull off a short story and make it work. Most of my stories now hover around around the 3,000-word mark at the minimum and I've written novels with 100,000 words or more. Medium-length to novel-length stories are much more forgiving, I've found (g).

I also realize that I drift from writing style to writing style, or maybe 'genre' is a better word, I don't know. There was a time when I only wrote news stories, and then I did some news mixed in with editorial, and then I was a full-time editorial writer with the very occasional news story (usually covering for someone else). Then came the burst of original fiction (helped by the creative minds and inspiration over at the dearly missed Story Exchange). Then came the fanfiction burst. And now, I think I'm a full-time blogger (stop laughing, everyone!*). I've never actually said *good-bye* to any of these forms of writing, because I think I'm still capable of writing in those genres if I wanted to. I just don't. I blog these days, and I don't write much of anything else.

That's one of the reasons why I'm really glad I'm getting involved in a writing group, and just how positive it felt to be around those women, and their talent and their ideas. I'd like to write something again, and not have this blog be my (mostly) one and only outlet for writing.** We'll see how it goes. At any rate, it's been both fun and scary to read some of that old, old stuff. It's always nice to have a roadmap of where you've been, so you can figure out how you got to where you are.

* I know one of the criteria of being a blogger is actually, y'know, blogging multiple times a day and not going AWOL for a week like I just did, but a girl can have delusions, can't she?

**Not, btw, that I have any intention of giving up this blog.

No comments: