Ron’s flash fiction posted on Monday sent me back in time. Like a lot of writers I first got my feet wet writing short stories. My first three novels grew out of short stories. It occurred to me when I was done reading Ron’s that I’ve not written a short story in about sixteen years, I’ve been so focused on writing novels.
Readers of this blog know that last winter I took up the challenge to write a sonnet a day for a month. Previously, I’d not written sonnets. Readers of this blog also know I’ve been revising a YA novel. I’ve written lots of YA novels, and there are days I have no heart for writing another one. This story is being revised because a wise editor told me there was no page-turning element in it. Some days I’m absolutely ambitious about turning it into a crackerjack, page-turning mystery. Other days I say, oh hell, I’ve written that story.
What haven’t I written? A trade picture book, for one thing. And last week I finally began work on one, noodling with an idea I’ve had for ten freaking years. I’ve also never written a screenplay, though I’ve wanted to try that for about as long. Last week I finally started messing around with that too.
I’ve no books in the publishing pipeline, no manuscripts on editors’ desk. But I’m playing with language in ways I’ve never done before, and I’m enjoying writing more than I have in a very long time.
Marsha, it's great that you're going after the kind of writing you want to do, instead of the kind of writing you HAVE to do. Go get 'em!
I've been needing to get on the poetry train for years, but each time I run screaming away. I end up trying to tell a story in the poem, and then I'm like, geez! just write a novel!
P.S. Rebecca Stead just won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award! How about that?
I love the idea of not getting pigeon-holed in one area of writing. But I'm usually so focused on getting that manuscript on an editor's desk that I don't let myself play with language – thanks for reminding me how important that is.
MQ- An article about John Hughes (Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles) in Vanity Fair had me running around the internet looking for a few of his screenplays a few months ago. (He churned those babies out in a weekend!) It was so helpful to read The Breakfast Club screenplay, kindof surreal. I don't know if I'm any closer to understanding exactly how John Hughes so successfully grabbed the younger generations like he did, but I'm thinking about it at least, and I have something tangible to study and play with.