Thursday, March 3, 2011

Revivifying the writing strategy

In view of the fact that I can't seem to finish a novel, and have piled up my fair share of partially complete works, Jeff Ambrose remarked that continuing to do so might build a bad habit. I agree: it is imperative that the next novel I attempt not be an attempt, but a completion. Otherwise, my subconscious may very well write itself into a wall again and again.

To that end, I'm revamping my writing tactics. The grand strategy remains the same: write a novel I love by the end of 2011. But the particular way in which I go about achieving that task must, obviously, change.

So, firstly, from here onwards I will only write stories I can finish; and for stories that scream for more, write serials.. This ensures that I am constantly massaging my creativity and trying new things. Nothing less than an immensely creative Ben can accomplish El Grando Strategeo (no, that's not a real language), and since I'm stuck on my novels, obviously my creative muscles need better workouts. Thusly, complete a lot of writing.

Second, I intend to read ever more widely. I have neglected short fiction for ages, now (alright, I guess, like, six months, but that's still a significant fraction of my life), in favour of reading novels, but reading short fiction might stimulate me in new ways and, paradoxically, contribute to my ability to write a novel. (Perhaps, even, reading all these novels is suppressing my own inner novelist?) I will also strive to read more widely in the genres, namely horror, mystery, and thriller; possibly, even, in romance (probably not, though, if I'm being frank about that there last one). I've been reading "Viriconium" by M. John Harrison lately, and, excellent fantasy though it is, there's really very little for me to take from reading really good - or bad - fantasy any more. So: on, to the genres!

Thirdly, I intend to update this blog every day, or as often as possible. I've done that before, and even though sometimes it was annoying, I think overall it improved my creativity and my dedication to writing. It forces me, in essence, to face up to my writing career - whether it's a "giggidy-giggidy!" kind of day or a "I shall never achieve release!" kind of one.

Finally, I will develop a dedicated writing time. This... has eluded me. Namely because the best time for such a time is in the mornings, before I go to work, and waking up at 6 AM can be... unpleasant. Nonetheless, I think it will be necessary to truly realize the full potential of my tactics and achieve that city-on-the-hill, The Novel. With time, I think I can wake up early and square my writing away every morning, leaving the rest of the day for Real Work, Schmoozing, and &c.

Well, there you have it: it only took two months to fully develop my New Years' resolution. Huh! I don't know how long I will have to pursue these tactics to make a novel work, but I suspect it will be as long as feels right, plus at least four weeks. I've jumped ship too early before; I can't afford (okay, that's too dramatic, but get off my back about it) to make the same mistake again.



  1. This is all very good, and best of luck with it ... but personally, I'm excited you're back to regular blogging.

  2. There you go. I endorse this method, and daily posting is sexy.

  3. David, you really like that word sexy don't you?

  4. Just keep plugging away on those stories and maybe one will turn into a novel. Good luck with the morning thing. I doubt it will ever happen for me--I'm far more of a stay-up-until-2:00am-writing person. But most of all, make sure you're still having FUN!

  5. I'm on the same boat, though I have an issue with editing novels. I do get to the end, but getting it edited is a hell, so this is where I will focus.