Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thoughts on the novel

I've written two more pieces of flash fiction for the Messages blog this weekend, which you can read here and here.

I'm treating this as a freewriting exercise, a way of loosening up my writing. It seems to be working, as so far the prompts have given rise to 300 words of writing very easily. This made me think. Why am I finding this so much easier than many of the other writing exercises I have undertaken and why are these short pieces so much easier to write than my novel?

Firstly I suppose it is the quality of the prompts, which are themselves 300 words of prose by accomplished writers. It would be very hard not to get some sort of ideas from what you read. The quality and variety of the responses the blog is receiving is testament to that.

Secondly, I think my sparse writing style is actually more suited to short fiction. I like to play around with the words and structure, making every word count. I am not the sort of writer who produces pages of flowery prose. This leaves me with a dilemma. Should I really be writing a novel at all or should I stick to short stories? But as we all know, the market for short stories is very limited.

Or should I be structuring my novel differently, breaking it down into smaller passages of prose which I would feel more comfortable writing? As it is, in the first section of the novel, which does not have a linear timeline, the chapters are tending to be shorter than I expected. But I don't want to end up with a novel which is not considered to be commercial.

Decisions, decisions...

Three notable things:

1. I am looking forward to hopefully meeting up soon with some other writers I have only 'met' online.

2. I found a nice Gap fleece hoodie for son 2 for £1.99 in a charity shop yesterday.

3. Son 1 has been offered the chance to do some ad hoc work experience at a charity and is actually keen to do it.


Anne Brooke said...

Ooh, love the house one - fab!

And I don't think novels have to be long or flowery - if you want to write short, crisp prose in brief scenes, then go for it. It can still be a novel. And these day, it's a mystery as to what is commercial and what is not. Hell, dear, I'll buy it in whatever format it comes in!



Cathy said...

Ah, my first reader. Now I just have to write the damned novel!

Glad you liked my little piece of life writing, Anne!


Jan said...

So did I, Cathy! Get on with that novel...SOON!

Lane Mathias said...

That's a great little piece Cathy.

Know what you mean about short v long. It's the length of the novel that I'm finding so damned hard:-)

Sarah Salway said...

So pleased you're enjoying it, Cathy. Lynne and I are LOVING the responses!