Thursday, May 29, 2008

Get on with it

I'm not sure why but three times in the last two months a story has descended on me almost complete - ideas, settings, dialogue, scenes, structure - the whole lot has bubbled up from some hidden spring.

It has happened before but not with such intensity nor for such a sustained spell. Perhaps the planet is passing through a region of space loaded with inspirons like the Perseids. Dunno. All I do know is that I've produced two or three tales in a very short space of time.

I don't mention this to disingenuously suggest that I am struggling under the burden of my talent which often leaves me breathless and marvelling at my own splendour. And I don't really want to complain about it though stories which arrive in this way are no less clear of problems than ones that have to be wrung out word by word. They still need honing to do their job properly. Lots of the words that look stellar in the light of the early dawn as I scribble them on the paper I keep by my pillow fade during the editing process. Lots get cut out.

It has to be said though that I feel something has changed. SDL, my touchstone for these issues, said that in his writing there came a time when he felt he had some kind of breakthrough and his writing improved a lot after that even though outwardly it read very much the same. I don't know if I've gone through the same process but it feels a bit freer and the sense I have on what needs to be done to a story seems deeper. Time will tell whether that will translate into published stories, or glory, sales.

But as Ze Frank and the level-headed Mur Lafferty have said ideas can very seductive. "Brain crack" is what Ze Frank calls them. I keep wanting to hare off and chase those ideas down instead of getting on with finishing the story I'm currently working on. It's all too easy to keep chasing ideas, which pretty much always look brilliant, than it is to get on with the graft. But it's been said that the difference between writers and everyone else is that writers write, others don't. I guess to that you can add that one similarity between writers and everyone else is that they have ideas, the difference is that writers ignore a lot of them.

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