I mentioned some time back that I’m going through changes in my writing, including a return to nonfiction by writing articles on Wizzley. I’m also doing a lot of introspecting about my fiction and feeling rather discouraged about it. One of my blog readers has been a tremendous help with the structural aspects of my novels and stories, but that’s led, as an unexpected side effect to questioning the very existence of those works. More accurately, their value.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a home with an excellent library, with parents who were readers and who didn’t place any restrictions on what I could read. One of the results was that I developed almost a worship of novelists, and aspired to be one myself. It took a while to get around to fulfilling that ambition, but I finally did it. And now I’m questioning it because I didn’t want to be just a novelist; I wanted to be a great one.
I’m a pretty good writer. I’m not going to be shy about it. I’m still learning, but on the whole, my writing is polished, fairly free of grammar faults, and I’ve been told I have a flair for dialogue. But that isn’t enough to distinguish good writers from excellent writers. Not when it comes to fiction. I’m not an excellent fiction writer, and I’m beginning to think I never will be. That won’t stop me from writing, or continuing to learn more about the craft of fiction, but it does mean I have to re-examine my goals.
The hand slaves universe still has a lot to offer, but it can’t go as deeply into serious issues as I’d like, and that makes it little more than entertainment. As I turn away from what is essentially fantasy and toward science fiction, the novels that I’ve already developed and the one that is published tell me that I don’t have the mysterious something that makes books stand out in the reader’s mind. They are all handicapped by my logical and rational approach to my writing. What they need is a heightened, even an exaggerated, view of reality, one that allows for drama and emotional connections. I lack the ability to write that way, and I don’t know if it’s something I can learn. We write best in the ways that are natural to us, and logic and rationality are what’s natural to me.
So here I am, figuring out what to do next. Continue as is with the novels I’ve started, or try to expand my creative horizon as I work on them? Or abandon fiction and concentrate on nonfiction?