Friday, February 04, 2005

Feverish Creativity

Monday night, I went out with two writer friends, M.T. Reiten and Richard Cox. As we talked about our current projects, I mentioned that I'd been writing quite a few short stories lately, but that after I finished the current story I was working on, I would probably go back to working on my novel exclusively. So here it is Friday already, and what have I done since? Hint: I didn't finish the current short story, and I didn't work on the novel.

No, instead, I got inspired yesterday with a new short story idea, a kind of sequel to a story I have already almost sold (I submitted it to an Australian anthology, who rejected it, but asked to hold onto it for a follow-on work they're planning). I got the idea at work, brainstormed it for a few hours, went home and wrote it in an almost solid block from 3 to 7 p.m. When I finished, I had a story that I was really excited about and a headache. I read the story a couple of times, and I still liked it. My wife read it after I went to bed; when I got up this morning, I found the manuscript with a note that said, "Excellent" (unlike the last story I wrote, which left her kind of confused).

The weird thing is, some stories it takes a while to write. Days. Weeks. But these two stories featuring the same character were both written in basically a single day, in one fevered burst of work. And they seem to be some of my best work. Does this mean anything for my ambitions about novel writing? Because no way am I ever going to write a novel in a day.

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