Overboiling

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I spent most of the weekend seeking shade and working on a long-hand draft of a new short story.

I really enjoyed working on something new, even though I know that what I produced fell short of where I was at with short stories this time last year. In many ways that was the point of the exercise. You see in trying to avoid one trap (not finishing things) I fell foul of another trap: overdrafting.

When I last updated you on the writing I was redrafting (despite promising myself I wouldn’t) The Scarred God in an attempt to turn it into something of marketable length. I made good progress at first until, as it does sometimes, Life got in the way. When I returned to the work I found the new material poor and awkward, it felt wrong, it felt like the story was being overboiled and bending out of shape.

It was depressing as hell.

Meanwhile, in the real world Life was happening, things weren’t panning out as I’d hoped and I was feeling pretty fed up. I decided to write some flash to finish something, anything, new in the hope it would kick me out of my funk and let me get on with stuff. I couldn’t make it work. Hell, I couldn’t even think of a thing to write.

I was blocked.

I’m not impervious to writer’s block. I distrust it. I don’t really believe in it as a thing in itself but as a symptom of other issues.

When I thought about it I realised I hadn’t written anything substantial and new since autumn of last year. I’d produced a couple of first drafts before starting the aborted redraft of Forever and then shelved them as I laboured at that ill-fated draft for five months and then mucked about with The Scarred God for a couple of months. I needed a change.

Hence I have put The Scarred God to one side. I have decided to produce some new short stories to clean off the rust and then I plan a final line edit of The Scarred God (not worrying about length but just polishing the prose). I will decide what to do with it when I’m done but I imagine, to keep me tinkering, I will release it as a podcast or some such thing. Not, you understand, to self-publish but to move on. We’ll see.

I have also set myself a minimum amount of new fiction, novels and short stories, to produce (and submit) a year.

Lesson learned.

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