I actually think chapter one was a little better in my “Wooing of Etain” retelling, but I’m getting there. And getting there, while still feeling the plot strongly is something I’m proud of. (I tend to get lost.)
And, this is an exercise in stamina. As many of you know, I have a hard time writing anything other than short fiction, no matter the fact that I’d really like to write novels too. I think that if I can get into the habit of writing short, novel-ish works well, that someday I might be able to turn out a work of length. But ‘well’ is the key. My first novella that I finished was…. not very good to put it mildly. Everything before that was… well, scary. Since I started writing seriously, I found my forte in the short fiction, and since a lot of people advised me to start with that, that’s what I did. I’m comfortable in the short range. I know what I’m about there, how to pare and trim and utilize the ‘essential story.’
But, sprawling out into something longer? That’s uncharted territory.
I would, however, like to write stuff a bit longer than 5k or 7k words. I don’t feel the desire to write anything hugely long (no Tolkien or W.E.B. Griffin-length works for me), but works in the novella range should satisfy; they’d give me the space to explore my worlds more, but still remain short enough that ebook publication wouldn’t strain the eyes so much.
But again, where does the sprawl of plot and setting and character become bulky, and no longer ‘the essential story?’ That’s actually where I have problems, I think. I’m writing and writing and writing, thinking “Oh yeah, this will be great, it’s giving a better concept of the whole picture,” and then, when re-reading during edits, I see those same passages and think, “Dang. That all needs to be cut. None of it relates,” and my pen goes ‘swish’ and that’s it.
My 15k or 20k work is again, down to 8k.
Of course, I think I end up with a better story that way…. After I got done editing and cutting my “Meeting Shadows” novella (it went from 34k to 8.5k), I think I had the better, more powerful story.
And yet, this pigeon-holing of my writing into short-fiction is wearing a tad thin. I want to do more., write more, create more…
But how much pithiness am I willing to sacrifice for the sake of length?