12.13.2010

Cooking stories and the suckiness that ensues.

Here are two questions that feel fundamental to my life:

1. Is there an afterlife?
2. Will I ever write a novel?

You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. The answers to both those questions are entwined with hope and reality and attempts and failures. Is there an afterlife? I sure hope so. Will I ever write a novel? Who knows.

Sometimes I'm so irritated that I even want to be a writer. I do not advise it, oh faithful reader! Wanting to be a writer is a ghost that hovers above you at every moment. Every moment that you are not writing (which is... often) feels not neutral, but negative. You are actively NOT writing. Your novel is NOT being written.

This drives one insane.

Also: the moment you feel you have nailed a moment in a story, the entire thing flops apart, revealing uncooked paragraphs and raw phrases. And don't even get me started on how to know when the story is cooked all the way through! Stories are not pancakes, warm and lightly browned. It is impossible to figure out whether your story is raw or perfectly done or burning down the damn house.

Recently I have been investigating the theory that if you've done something many times and have always failed, you should try something drastically different. Maybe I'll apply that to writing fiction. Maybe I need to write a crazy, fantastical story about a lion and a witch and a wardrobe. (Shhh.) Or a wizard! A wizard from London! (Shhhhhhhh.)

Or the afterlife. (Ha.)

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