“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
― Frank Herbert
I have been thinking a lot about writing. First let me digress to say that I am not a professional writer but, since I have self-published two books on Amazon, I’m not really an amateur either. Do two books make me a semi-pro or a semi-amateur? Since my total sale of books (in addition to the one I purchased myself) stands at seven, I’ll go with semi-amateur. I have had several thousands of pages read on Kindle Unlimited, so maybe I’m working toward being semi-pro. By the way, if you are interested, when a book is on KU the author gets paid by the number of pages that are read for the first time (if someone rereads a page that doesn’t count). The payment amounts to approximately $0.0044 per page. Suffice it to say, I’m not going to get rich off my writing. I am, however, an internationally read author. Of the seven books that were purchased, three were paid for in Euros, two in British Pounds, and one in Canadian Dollars. To all the American readers out there, you better jump on the bandwagon while you can.
But back to writing. I’ve been thinking about it because I just finished my second novella (lesfic of course) which leaves me with an empty feeling. I’ve been working on it for about two months, writing, deleting, rewriting and generally plugging away. I started out with a very basic outline, in this case it was a short story I wrote several years ago. I first visualized it as a longer, more involved story and then just plowed my way through to a conclusion. Despite what I’ve read about the writing process, starting was the easiest part. Finishing it was a bitch. I had the Epilogue in my mind from about the middle of the story, but had trouble moving from what Joseph Campbell would describe as the Threshold through the Trials and on to the Road Home. At one point I thought it would be easier to keep writing than to arrive at a satisfactory ending. Ultimately, I got bored and just worked through to a stopping point. Did it end abruptly? Maybe. On the other hand, I could have added more twists, but I really don’t think they would have added anything to the story itself.
One of my favorite writers of lesbian romances, Jae, has a tendency to do the same thing with her books. She is an extremely talented writer and creates good stories and appealing characters, but I often get the feeling she’s gotten tired of her characters and contrives an ending to get away from them. In that regard, she’s a role model for me. When you are done – quit writing.
Almost all of what I have written in the past has been in the form of short stories. When I took a creative writing class a couple of years ago we had to submit writing samples, weekly, of no more than 1,000 words. At the time I was working on a novel and had trouble finding excerpts within that parameter that could stand alone and make any sense, so I found myself writing stories with a beginning and ending in a thousand words. I learned to condense and suggest the middle part rather than explain. I found that using the reader’s imagination to fill in the details is much easier than writing them out.
I have read a lot of quotes from famous writers about how hard it is to start a novel. That’s not the case for me. I’ve got lots of stories started in my mind with no clear path to a conclusion. I find I do better if I can visualize a scene or bit of dialogue somewhere in the middle, then write both directions from that. The short story I expanded to a novella started out with a quote and a title, ‘Fucking Lesbos: A Love Story.’ The story had only three character: the one who uttered the words ‘fucking lesbos’ and the two who turned it into a love story. What could be easier? Of course, it was only about four-thousand words and now I’ve expanded it into thirty-thousand. There are a lot more characters now, and the story itself takes a completely different route to reach the same conclusion, a route that I hadn’t visualized when I started. Unfortunately, the original title didn’t fit any more – I loved that title. But the premise is the same: two women, one in denial about being gay and the other unaware of her potential attraction to another woman, meet at a fitness center, bond while watching a naked bimbo in the locker room, have sex, fall in love and achieve their HEA.
I am never going to write ‘The Great American Novel.’ I not only don’t want to write it, I wouldn’t want to read it. I like to read – and write – stories about the emotional development of individual people, women usually. And I will always write stories that have a Happily Ever After.
Novel Report: Okay, I haven’t worked on it at all. I opened it yesterday, read what I had written most recently, and closed it again. I wish I could just find a way to wrap it up quickly, but there are too many threads still hanging loose. I’ll either have to go back and alter them or keep writing.
But the good writing news is the novella that I’ve finished, “Fit for Love.” I will be publishing it on Amazon later this week. My goal is to exceed my own sales record, maybe sell nine, or even ten. Although the book is set in Omaha (Jea Hawkins is not the only author who writes Nebraska based lesfic), I hope I can hang on to my international market.