Monday, December 09, 2013

Writer's block party

It's funny, and I don't know in which sense of the word I mean "funny", but when I was in college, I took a number of creative writing courses, and something that haunts me to this day about them is that I had a large portion of my classmates tell me that I was the best writer in the class. It haunts me because, well, while I do recognize that I wrote a handful of really good short stories in the mid-'90s as I was taking these classes, I've really never written much of anything else since then, at least fiction-wise.

Yeah, I've been blogging, and some of it is probably pretty good, but when you think about being a "writer", don't you tend to think about someone who writes stuff that's more than just a handful of self-published random musings? What I'm saying is that I've always wished I could be a novelist, because it somehow always seemed like writing a novel is something a "real writer" would do. But even back in college when I was getting all this praise dumped on me, it always got to me that however good my writing might be, I'd never written a piece longer than about ten pages. Really, that's only a proper short story because unlike terms like "novel" or "novella", there's no minimum guideline for what qualifies as a "short story".

It's a kind of writer's block for me: I can think of stories, but generally only very, very short ones, and sometimes not even that. Where do stories come from, anyway? It boggles me that there are writers out there with dozens of novels to their names, people who just seem to be a wellspring of ideas that are worth committing to paper and distributing to thousands of readers. How do they do it?

I can barely get a blog post out.


Wayne Parker said...

I appreciated the post. As a fellow writer, I really connected with your talk of writers block, and what you really want to achieve as a writer. When I ponder of how writers write long novels, and many of them, I often think of my ideas. When I get an idea for a novel, I take time developing the main plot, divide it into sub plots, and character back stories. I would recommend, as a start, going back to one of your old short stories. Read through it, and start to thicken the plot. Elaborate on character stories, and even on sub plots. If you think of mainstream novels such as the Lord of the Rings, they could be summed up easily. Just elaborate, that's my best advice.

Best wishes.

Wayne | Capital Elevator Services

Brucker said...

Thanks! I didn't think I was likely to end up getting advice, and I definitely appreciate it.

I think good writing is like far too many things in my life where I want to look for a cheap shortcut, but it's just not going to hack it. Real good writing is real hard work!