F is for Fiction. Fiction is probably what I am best at, though my problem has always been short fiction and novellas. No matter how short I intend a piece to be, it simply grows from underneath me. Every “short fiction” piece I ever started on my own has grown to hundreds of pages. My longest, and only completed, fiction piece is a novel called “Finding Eden” that I’d like to publish one day. It started as a dream, and I had intended for it to be short, probably novella length, under 100 pages. After my first few rounds of editing after its completion, it’s a burgeoning 1,000 pages. I’m sure that there is more I could trim out, but the task seems daunting.
On the other hand, I can write short pieces that are either a couple of paragraphs or a few pages with ease. Anything that needs to be wrapped up in 4-6 pages, forget about it. 100 or else? Not likely.
For me, it always seems like the characters hijack my story before I can even blink an eye. The characters complicate themselves and each other, and in turn, the story. It’s never the plot that gets carried away (most of my stories tend to be mostly internal journeys as opposed to external ones).
What is your biggest writing obstacle? Do you have more trouble keeping a story short or making it long enough? I’d like to know.
I have to have things written down somewhere and/or categorized in folders on my desktop. In fact, I can easily say that I am much more organized on my computer than I could ever be at my real desk. I have a folder for all of my submissions and keep a document that lists out the journals I want to submit to, organize them by the month they open their reading period, and note whether or not they accept simultaneous submissions. I then have folders for the individual journals that I submit to, and I name each file in the folders respective to its purpose (Cover letter or Submission) and append the date (2014_1) so that I know what year and month I submitted to them last. This will allow me to examine my previous submissions (as I may solicit a journal multiple times) and see if there is something I want to change. If I received a rejection letter, I try to scan it and keep a copy in that folder. I’ve only received two rejection letters to date with personalized comments. One from The Gettysburg Review and the other from The Missouri Review. I keep these notes pinned above my desk so that I can look at them and remind myself that tenacity is the key here.
Are there any strategies that you use to help keep yourself organized whether it’s for your notes, your work, the places you want to submit to? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I think a writer’s environment is very important and can affect their desire (and ability) to write. So when Jodie posted this, it made me really think about what I should surround myself with when I try to write and what I should try to get away from or exclude. Personally, I probably should not be working on a computer with an internet connection! I get WAY too distracted!