|Ben Godby relaxing on his day off.|
This is interesting because she's right - at least in the primary market notion of "story" as the evolution of characters through challenges. I wrote stories like that for a while when I was on a binge of "story advice," hunting for "the formula" that would bring me success. However, I always had trouble cranking those out, because I don't inherently have interest in characters as a writer. I love reading about characters, but I don't like to mould that kind of story myself (i.e. I'm bad at it). Me, I prefer to deal in ideas.
It took me a long time to realize this. I actually recently went back to the archives from my early days of writing and realized that I had construed those works as "bad" or "poor writing" precisely because they didn't conform to the normal set of objectives for marketable fiction. I used a lot of first person, a lot of passivity, a lot of unresolvability, a lot of ideas and, generally speaking, a preference for anti-movement or even regression rather than change or transformation. The story in question above, that was rewritten and then rejected, was actually a very old story, and it fit this form exactly: in it, nothing happens.
Of course, nothing happening is a great foundation for meditating on various facts of life. I'm reminded of a rant by Aliette de Bodard:
"I'm tired of plots that value individualism and egotism above all else; of heroes that always have to be the masters of their own fates, to be active and not take anything that life deals at them lying down (whereas most of the time, we lie down, we accept, we deal with what we have been given)..."
Suffice to say that, after various existential crises (I mean, whatever, right? Camus already did it), I'm going back to those forms. I don't know exactly what it is I'm writing now, but I think it's going to push me out of the running in a lot of markets. The philosophies driving me to write fiction that is interesting to me - as opposed to the philosophies that (I now shamefully admit) I followed in an attempt to please others - are incongruent with what most market-driven editors are looking for.
ALSO NOTE THAT THIS IS SECRETLY A PLEA FOR EDITORS TO LIKE MY WORK FOR MY BRAZEN, COURAGEOUS INDIVIDUALISM AND FORTHRIGHT VANGUARDISM OF AWESOME EXCELLENCE.
And now: Goat Horn tribute by awesome metal kids. I'll always have you, metal.