Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Difference Between a Short Story and a Novel

Taking a break from short stories, I am in the midst of writing a novel.  I've heard that the only difference between the two is that a novel is longer.

I couldn't disagree more.  Writing a book demands tenacity and endurance. Faith and patience. Hope and letting go.  A strict writing regimen.

Short stories come to me quickly.  I'm in control.  After every word is checked and my writing group critiques, I send the finished product out to literary journals.  So far I've  received gratification in a short time in the way of an acceptance.  After publication, the copyright reverts to me.

Not so with my novel.  It's taking an agonizing amount of time, effort and discipline.  The plot changes as do the characters, without any direction from me.  Suddenly a character shows up I've never met before.  A new plot develops.  Part of the old one gets thrown out.  I don't expect gratification now or anytime soon.  I am far from submitting to small presses.  Far from finishing the first draft.  Even further from editing and revising.

So why am I torturing myself?  Because my protagonist and his tale have been following me around for decades.  I cannot not squeeze his life and soul in a short story.

In the meantime, I'm furthering the story by getting out of the way and letting it happen.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Angels or Demons? Contradictions are the Stuff of Story

You must carry a chaos inside you to give birth to dancing.
                                                                                             --Nietzsche        
                                                                               

The creative principle must have opposition in order to exist.
                                                                                            --Norman Mailer

All suffering is bearable if it is seen as part of a story.
                                                                                           --Isak Dinesen (Out of Africa)

A creative person has little power over his own life.  He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daemon.
                                                                                            --C.G. Jung

Nothing resembles an angel so much as a demon, and vice versa.
                                                                                            --Jean Dutourd

I feel there is an angel in me whom I am constantly shocking.
                                                                                             --Jean Cocteau

The world into which we are born is brutal and cruel, and at the same time, of divine beauty.
                                                                                              --C.G. Jung

Art is a lie which allows us to approach the truth.
                                                                                                --Picasso

Best Submission Rejection Ever

"Catherine, at this time, we don't handle projects with swearing in them."