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Fits and starts

May 5, 2013

I had a great idea for a novel Friday morning. I’d not yet gotten out of bed, and a high-concept pitch line simply popped into my head.

Unfortunately, it was a great idea for someone else’s novel. I know what I can write with conviction, and this wasn’t it. Not a good fit.

But wait, I hear you say, if you’re a professional writer and all that, shouldn’t you be able to write anything? It’s your idea, after all. You should run with it.

Sure. And perhaps, if I were twenty, I’d have a go on the chance I’d get “into” the project along the way. But I’m not young, and I need to be picky about what I start, because I would like to avoid getting thirty thousand words deep and only then realizing it’s unsalvageable.

Been there, done that.

Speaking of being in too deep, I’m slowly getting back to the current novel after a patch full of profitable distraction: the short story for the Untreed Reads “space crime” anthology call and my son’s Science Fair project (red ribbon at the regional, not bad for his first time and a last-minute experiment). The short story in particular was useful, from a narrow, writerly point of view, as it touched on some of the same themes as the novel…so I got to try some things out without committing to them for the longer work. And novelists need to go short now and again, to stretch the story-telling muscles in different ways.

Besides, it was a good fit.

P.S. I’m giving my writing circle, Writers under the Arch, dibs on the idea. If none of them want it I’ll post it here.


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