Write what you know

Holy crap, Batman. Finally. Well, all right maybe not finally, but it is certainly a relief to have things at least worked out.
For the last six months or so I’ve been mulling around wondering which way Blood on the Quarter (formerly Old Ipswich Road) is going to go. While it is definitely nice to have something solid to finally go on, it’s been very painful. Not that any of my other stories have been easy.
Even the flash fictions Chuck Wendig puts to his readers every week come with some measure of difficulty for me. It takes a while for me to think of something to write about. Once I do, though, BAM! It’s like my muse socks me in the brain. The words come, the plot is there, and I can’t stop myself from writing until the story is on paper. Or the computer screen as the situation goes.
Sadly, for the longest time, I couldn’t say the same for Blood on the Quarter. Like I said in my last post, this has been the hardest thing I have ever written.
Seriously. I’m not being cute here.
Blood on the Quarter has been hard.
It took me a year to write Carousel in its current form. It’s got to be my favourite story so far. I actually really enjoy it. After I wrote it the first time, I left it alone for six months, every so often looking at it and wondering how I could do it better. I picked it up again to enter it into a contest. I never entered the contest, but I did rewrite the story.
The only difference was; Carousel was a short story. The plot was compiled and simplified from an Alice in Wonderland story I had written previously in a few notebooks purchased from Borders, a fairytale circus story, a mafia story, and a Humpty Dumpty retell I was playing around with in my head.
Easy peasy.
All I had to do was sit down and write. Look at the story I had already written and change it around in my head and on the computer screen until it worked, until it was a story. The beauty is; I could easily make it longer. There are certainly some other fairy tales I’ve been dying to twist (I’ve got a mermaid story on the back burner), I can always make Evan and Beezy partners in crazy dreams to put the fairy tale world to rights.
Could be fun.
The Islander and all of my flash fiction entries are the same way. Sit down and write until it works.
It’s depressing that I can’t seem to do the same with Blood on the Quarter.
Maybe it’s because I’m thinking of the story as a full fledged novel.
It’s got to be —- words long.
It has to have significant character development.
Oh God, how am I going to tie the plot together?
Crap, is anyone really going to believe this?
Is this twist, or that plot tie, really going to work?
Again with the bitch in my head. It gets so bad sometimes, when I start really going with the story; I get scared and stop. To be fair, sometimes I get so tired that I stop and sleep, but most times I get honestly scared of what I’m writing. I don’t know why. I really don’t. It’s depressing. I’m tired of starting, getting on a roll, then psyching myself out and stopping.
Facebook isn’t just a distraction anymore, it’s an excuse.

So, I’ve decided a few things:

I’m going to Poland later this week, during which time I’m going to write very little. 500 words a day is my goal. If I do any more than that, it’s a bonus. Any less will not be tolerated.

I’m not going to let work get to me any more. It’s become a serious burden on me emotionally and physically. I’ve plateaued on my journey to lose weight and I’m afraid of a relapse because of stress eating. After my vacation I’m going to my bosses and telling them 20 hours is the maximum I’m doing. School is starting in March and I need to get back to it. A sense of accomplishment if anything. Plus, I really want to get my degree over and done with.

I’m going to stop approaching Blood on the Quarter as a full length, all-in-one novel. I get the most enjoyment out of writing short stories. They’re fun for me. And, really, why not? No one says a novel can’t be made out of fully developed short stories. As long as you have a common thread joining them, it could work.

When you’re writing, you’re supposed to write what you know. I know short stories. I’m going to start there.


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