Saturday, June 5, 2010

An acceptable time

As I was writing the post about "The Least of the Deathly Arts" the other day, and thinking about how it took me two years to write a 2700 word short story, I realized that a lot of what I am currently working on has been a while in the making, or at least in the contemplative stage.

Linger is the exception to this. I began writing Linger in mid-August of 2008, when I got back from Clarion. By the end of November of that year, I had a draft. A bad draft, there's no arguing about that, but a finished one. I'm bracing for the final pass-through of the revision on this right now. Send chocolate. And vodka.

Seen is a novel-length work in progress that is finally going to be my Tam Lin origin story. I wrote one of those while at Clarion. Seen is nothing like that story, but "how did Faerie wind up having to pay a teind to Hell?" has been one of those questions that has been like a rock in my shoe since I first read Tam Lin. So even though I haven't been actively writing this one for longer than about a month or so, I've been thinking about it for a while.

New and as-yet untitled novel-length project that involves poison and politics. When I decided to apply to Clarion, one of my writer friends said "I'd kill to go there." And I laughed, but then I thought, what if you really did have to kill to get into something? And lo, one of my application stories, "Admissions," was born. "Admissions" was not ever a short story I was interested in revising, but as I was driving from Minneapolis to New Hampshire, the idea started getting really loud in my head. When I got here, I started writing it. So I suppose, at some level, I've been working on this one for two years, too.

I don't know what any of this means, or if it means anything. I've written short stories that were good enough to sell in less than a day. I've also spent serious amounts of time on stories that wound up falling flat. But the lesson I'm taking from it is, if a story is meant to be told, it will let me know when the time has come to tell it.

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