Sunday, November 16, 2008

Today is not a good day

I'm lost. I have four different projects, all of them with very different themes and plots arcs and even genres, and still I'm lost. Granted, in just over two weeks I've churned out nearly 23-thousand words. I'm pleased at the word count. It's good that I've been able to sit and concentrate on getting some words out, but I'm not at all satisfied, for a number of reasons:

1) The writing - as is typical with first-draft material - is shit.
2) The flow has stopped, and I can tell. Where once there was a sense of connection to each piece; now there seems to be just a monotonous typing of words. I think that maybe I derailed myself a bit when I stepped away from the first piece and started the second one, and I've lost a bit of my momentum.
3) I'm questioning my style of writing, which leads me to my real discussion.

For months, perhaps even over the course of years since I graduated and have been writing consistently, I've thought of myself as a decent writer, one with a fair amount of skill and distinct voice. Now I've begun to realize that I am a very stylized writer. I begin with a concept, I continue to build upon that concept and by the end of the story, there's no story. I spend a great deal of time working up to a revelation with my characters - or my readers, or even myself - that never comes. It's disappointing to read story after story of my own material and find that I keep coming up short of my own goals.

So do I revise all of those pieces? Can I go back and begin to rewrite them - completely rewrite them from scratch - as though they were entirely new pieces? Both of those tasks seem daunting, and some of the stories are better left unfinished or unpolished, as I don't believe they're salvageable as they are.

I don't believe that I have the knack to be profound in my material. That's not who I am; that's not what I want to present in my stories. What I do hope for, however, is a sense of consistency that makes my stories mine: a consistency that gives me a voice that is distinct from so much of the monotony that pervades contemporary writing. At the moment, I have no achieved that, as I once thought I had.

Back to the drawing board.

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