I’m 10 pages into the second part of the story.

I have the idea, I know the direction the story will go, I know the scenes and interactions that will occur between character, I am certain of the conflicts and resolutions, but it is the minutiae between it all that causes the most problems for me.

Sometimes it is easy getting an idea out. Action tends to be easy, if messy, but sometime there is frustration in finding the right words to fill in the empty spaces between things. Dialogue can be fun, but I am trying to limit dialogue for the sake of mood.

One of the things I learned writing the first part of the story was how to expand on ideas by including philosophical asides to better flesh out the underlining theme or motivations of the characters and story. But you can’t always lean on that, say, when your main character is moving to point b.

It’s odd. I’ve always been a verbose writer.  I remember in college writing short stories for my writing classes, and turning a ten-page assignment into a 30-page to 40-page story. But long-form writing is so different than short-form stuff. It require so much  more padding, you can’t just spew it all out at once. There is so much more involved in setting mood, theme, and plot, and then juggling it all as you move forward (and this is the reason why I put aside my last project after three attempts that reached about or over 100 pages in length). There are things that happen later in a story that I desperately want to write now, but know that if I do, I will have to force the rest of the story to shape itself into that later bit. And that’s really tough. It slows my writing down to a crawl. Instead of stretches of dozens of pages written, I can only eke about a paragraph out.

Not that I am anywhere near his artistic level, but I keep thinking of Kafka and The Trial.  While he died before finishing the story, he wrote sections (like the chapter, Cathedral) that are amazing pieces of prose but float in the nether because he never connected it to the story proper. In the last never-to-be-published novel I wrote, I had done the same sorts of things.  Wrote vast stretched of prose from later points in the story, and then worked hard at trying to get it all to connect (mostly to disjointed failure). Sometimes it would be weeks before I’d get anywhere between islands of completed bits.

Maybe it is just human nature to take shortcuts to the good parts of things. Or maybe I just need more experience at writing.


Forcing a story

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