Writings Update

A brief update on how my writings are going, and what my short term plans are.

–On the fiction front, I will soon begin the delayed fifth draft of my first novel, Flowers for Dionysus, the story of a disillusioned community theatre actor who begins to experience unexplained but inspirational events in and around the playhouse.

I’m a bit behind on this, because I finished draft number four about three months ahead of schedule. As a result, I sort of allowed it to leave my consciousness for longer than I should have. In a way this is good, as it provides some distance. But too much distance from a work will dull one’s senses to it, and I can’t let that happen. So it’s back to that within the week.

Structurally I’d say it’s already in fairly good shape, but I think I want to pump up the level of conflict in some places a bit. I think with some doctoring I can also bring a few themes into greater relief.

–Novel 2, (that the working title I have for it), is proceeding again, after some stalling out. You may recall I wrote the first half or so of this novel for Nanowrimo, working from an outline I’d previously composed. From November and until about a week ago, I had only worked on the outline for the second have on a periodic basis, though at New Year’s I set a goal to have the outline finished by May, and the first draft by July.

I think it stalled out a bit because of fear. I’d gotten to a point where I knew it was time to start tying a few things together in the plot, but I began to realize I wasn’t sure how to do it. Unlike the first novel, I didn’t have a dimly lit road that stretched out for miles before me from the start. There were chasms in the action of this one, and for a few weeks there I felt unable to bridge them. I have in the last few days constructed a workable door through which I can now walk the plot. For a while anyway. I can’t see the end, but I can see more than I could two weeks ago.

A bit of a quandary has arisen about Novel 2, though. I’ve always intended it to be a plot-based book with literary quality prose. Dionysus I feel is a good story with an important message, but isn’t literary fiction. Technically, Novel 2 isn’t supposed to be literary either, but I’m starting to wonder if the message of the piece, (one of the reasons I opted to write this novel) is getting lost in the action.

Action is good, of course, and plenty of novels have both action and message. I’m not an elitist, so I don’t think a plot-driven novel needs to lack literary quality. At the same time, if so much running around and good guy vs. bad guy is happening that the theme is less obvious, I’ve shot myself in the foot, haven’t I?

So now I wonder if, upon future drafts, I should write Novel 2 with a more specific intention of being literary. It’s been outlined as a plot-based work, so making the conscious choice to go literary with it would require some obvious shifting, and that could be headache inducing. At the same time, it could relieve some of the pressure to construct a rip-roaring, action-packed plot. (Yes, literature can have plot, but it isn’t the bulls-eye ) Truth be told, it’s probably too early to worry about it, but I’d hate to invest all that time in the wrong type of rough draft…

–I’m writing a one-man play based on some material from Shakespeare. I’ll be performing that at some undetermined date in the intermediate future, on one of the stages I appear on most, locally. It will be a fundraiser for the educational section of same. A pay what you will sort of thing. A few days ago, I finished the first draft of section one of that project. I think section one will probably be the longest and most complex, so maybe it will be more smooth from here on out. (“Famous last words”, I know.)

–I’ve entered one of my short stories, Amateurs in the Distance in a contest. Cash prizes. I did research it and it seemed reputable from what I could tell. 20 dollar entrance fee, which to me is steep, so I’m not going to be doing any more paying contests for a while. (I might enter some free ones.) I just wanted to get my feet wet with contests and this short story is one of my strongest from the last year, I think.

–I’ve begun the preliminary stages of researching agents, small publishing houses, and the self-publishing process, all in an effort to see which is right for me. I hope to have that decision sometime this year.

–On the business front, I’ve applied to be a writer for Scripted, though I haven’t heard back from them yet.

–I’m also going to compile a list of people to consider the dreaded cold-calling. I don’t believe in cold calling by and large. I think its obnoxious and not as effective and know-it-alls say it is. But if I keep it local and focused, it may not hurt as much. But it would be infrequent. It’s far from certain that I will resort to it at all as a means to gain clients.

Other then some other smaller things here and there, you’re about caught up on my writing life for now. I will of course keep you posted on how all of it, and new adventures unfold.

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