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« The woo-back is back. 10 Years MAN! | Main | Fall in One Day launches »
Wednesday
Jun072017

The Art of Finishing

 

Seems like the launch of Fall in One Day was already a while ago... even though it wasn't. And there's lot more stuff happening, author visits to Chapters/Indigo, maybe some other local reads, and a bit of hitting the road. (More info on that to come)
But of course, writers gotta write. So what's happening next?... you might ask - hell, I ask myself the same thing!

I've been working on a few different projects, but I will soon be focusing on just one. While I like the idea of a lot of irons in the fire, or ducks in the pond, or doughnuts in the fryer (hmm, I like that one), if I hope to finish something, then I need to eventually focus on one thing.

I've read how John Updike, who was very prolific, had three different desks, each with a unique purpose. One was for writing short stories, one for novels, and one for essays and journalism. I guess he would switch his working area depending on the project – not sure if all three desks were in one room, or even if the story is mythical, but I get it. Here is my theory: The different set-ups helped him finish shit.

If there is one thing that I think separates serious writers from those who simply like the idea of writing (you can call them amateurs, but I think they are more wannabees) and here it is: writers finish shit.
And when you're talking a novel, that is a marathon that is not to be taken lightly. Sure, there is Nanowrimo - where you bang keys for the solid month of November – but I can't say that you have a finished novel at the end of it. Or maybe you do. Whatever floats your boat. The whole point here is in the finishing. Who I am to dis those that commit to a solid butt-in-chair attitude for thirty days?

I've had people tell me, after they find out I have written novels, that they have whole novels in their head, they just have to write them down. Yeah, good luck with that. Don't get me wrong, not trying to get all snarky about it. It's just that statements like that can undermine the difficult challenge of writing 80,000 words into some sort of cohesive narrative.

But not just novels, short stories are their own challenge. One of my writing heroes, George Saunders talks about working on stories for years. But the thing he did, he didn't just work on them, he finished them.

So dear woo-reader, my encouragement to you, if you are beginning to write, is to finish something... anything. And then finish another thing. And so on. It's the best thing you can do.

I didn't actually start this post to talk about that - but it is simply a reminder to myself that I need to shift gears, dig in, put those doughnuts in the fryer (obviously a theme), and get at it.

Next up will most likely one of three things:
Manistique is the follow up to Surf City Acid Drop. Our hero, but still not a detective, Luke Fischer finds himself in Upper Michigan trying to find the trail of a young woman that he watched die in a backroom poker game in Santa Fe.

Bent Highway Part Two. If you read the crazy adventure of M, you know a couple of things - time got weird - and the novella just kinda stopped. I've always meant to continue and finish this story... and I think I am ready to now. A writer friend recently read Part One and really liked it. This reminded me that I liked it too.

UnNamed New novel. This one is in research stage, but I am really loving the premise... which, I can't tell you, because I ascribe deeply to the writing that first draft with the door closed (From Stephen King's On Writing). Just to say, it's going to be cool, and there may be, just may be, some Samurai involved.

Okay - go finish something now. That's what I'm trying to do.

P.S. - A bit of trivia to do with my novel Fall in One Day. Some of my friends know that I am huge fan of the musician Beck - but the protagonist of that novel (Joe Beck) is not named after him. Rather, he is named after the character of Henry Bech... written by John Updike. 

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