Before we talk about anything else, how are you doing? I hope you are navigating the new reality we’ve all had to confront. Clearly this has been an experience unique in my lifetime, and I would venture a guess in yours as well. I hope you are persevering.
What we’re talking about…
…is dipping your toes into something new.Have you ever? Have you ever decided it was time to try your hand at something you’ve never done before?
For me, giving a new experience a shot is something I’ve been known to do in the past, but in my writing career, there have been extended periods of time where my choices have been a little conservative. This is not a word I generally dig having applied to myself.
There is a tendency among some writers, I think, to stick with something that’s worked in the past or with which we are comfortable. If you’ve read my books, or even if you’ve looked at them on Amazon, you’ll see that I’ve written in more than one genre, so you might wonder what I’m going on about.
Okay! I’ll spill! I’m writing a play. This is honestly something I’ve never seriously considered. I’ve thought of myself as a novelist since before I actually was a novelist, if we accept the definition as being “one who has written a novel.”
That hasn’t really changed. I still write novels. I’m currently co-authoring two (with the incomparable Craig A. Hart), and there are more “in the can” as we say. In the canning industry.
But my first published book was actually a collection of short stories, called Welcome Home, which you can, of course, find littering the virtual shelves of Amazon.Short story writing, for me, has been going on since high school. Often my novels have started in this format, and then convinced me they were worthy of a full-length treatment.
Sometimes I will write a short story just to “clear the pipes,” as we say. In the pipe clearing industry. If an idea has been rattling around long enough, I’ll write it down just so that I can stop thinking about it.
There has been such a story, doing the aforementioned rattling for a very long time which I finally decided to get written down.
When I started I suddenly realized that in order to write this long-rattling story, I needed to tell another one first. So I did. It was a fine story, but when I went back to work on the original idea, I saw that there was still more that was needed now to bridge where the first story ended and where the one I was trying to write began.
Finally, I wrote the original story, which ended up being the third part. It was crazy.
But when it was all done, I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. It was way too long to be a short story anymore, but it felt like the story was complete, so trying to expand it further didn’t feel promising.
t was, naturally, Craig who after watching me agonize over this problem for years… okay, about five hours, said, “This feels like a three-act play.”
Ratfink! I never would have thought of that in a billion years. Billion-and-three, maybe.
Well, needless to say, I was at the same time enamored with the idea and horrified by it. As I’ve said this is not a form of writing I’ve done, so I’m basically making things up as I go. I’ve got a ton of work left to do and I’m probably going to make a lot of mistakes, but I’m very excited about it, and I’m hoping that I end up with something of merit.
I will keep you posted on the progress, and until we talk again, be well, be safe, be considerate!