Friday, November 17, 2006

The Long and the Short of It

A child-free day today, which allowed me to clear the last of my immediately due magazine work and make a start (finally) on my horror short for Mr Deniz.

Made some reasonable progress, but failed to get into the groove I so comfortably occupied writing for Old Friends. Back in June, I was knocking out 2000-2500 words a day, and only about a quarter of them sucked. Today I managed less than half that, and ended up rewriting almost all of it

It's a major change of pace and technique, moving from short story to novella and back again, the two forms requiring very distinct kinds of discipline. One way to describe it would be as the difference between a sprint and a marathon - except for the fact that I appear to have got them the wrong way around. Word-for-word a short story always seems to take me more time to physically write than something longer.

I'm sure other writers cope with it differently, breezing through the shorts and taking proportionately longer on more sizeable stories. My principle difficulty, I think, is the need to fiddle. On Old Friends, I'd happily hammer away at the keyboard for hours on end, and only when I was done would I go back and rewrite. For some reason - probably the perception that on a short story every single word counts - I've spent today going back and rejigging sentences after every other paragraph.

Like as not it's symptomatic of my not having written a story for a while. With a bit of luck I'll be able to knock the premature tweaking on the head and get back into a rhythm tomorrow.

Well, I'd better - the story's due in two weeks.


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