That was the week that was. Last Tuesday the editor’s report on my spooky stories came in, threw me a complete curve and left me in a tizzy – my poor synapses working overtime.
It started well –
“Like your style and what you’ve done with the stories”
“Very good writer, stories have real merit.”
Oh goodness I was having a warm fuzzy glow moment (actually a bit tearful) of pride.
I read on. She took each story in turn, made some very helpful suggestions and complimentary comments and the fuzzy glow began to turn into a flush to rival any of those crappy menopausal ones.
I arrived at the last few paragraphs. Here’s where the kicker came in. She suggested in effect that I turn the collection into a novella or even a novel.
“What” I shrieked at the computer screen. I’m writing short stories. I can’t do novels not even short ones. I have the evidence to prove it – three half written very dead ones mouldering away in a drawer somewhere.
But the damage was done. Stealthily at first, my brain woke up; then gathering speed it zigged and zagged through a zillion different scenarios. Ideas came; ideas went. What if? What if? Oh yes I could do this or that or even this and that. After a week of serious brooding I felt like one of those stupid chickens trying to hatch a pot egg. I used up a ream of paper drawing out scenes, new chapters, the mechanisms I could use, the new characters I could develop.
In the end I took last weekend off and painted a lambris clad (tongue and groove) ceiling a fetching chalky white. There was method in my madness because to paint lambris well you need to pay attention – all those little grooves that a roller misses have to be painted in by hand. It’s a boring job but takes my mind off more meaningful things and I’m working on the principle that my brain will be free to rove around on its own, unfettered by my attempts to coax and corral it.
For two days, whilst I played Michaelangelo and lay on my back painting the ceiling (sadly with no Sistine Chapel effects) I left Richard, my possible protagonist festering in the Nonesuch Club – a very unusual and select establishment. Will he emerge shoe-horned into a short story? Shall I give him more air time and expand him into a novella or shall I go for the big time novel?
I haven’t the faintest idea – the pot egg hasn’t hatched yet. I think I’ll go find another ceiling to paint.