Some Rewards of Fiction Writing

8 Jun

I know it’s appalling how much I’ve neglected this blog. I’ve been so busy…writing novels and short stories. That’s so much more rewarding than blogging. Bereavement has also been a rather significant distraction.

Rewarding? Do I deserve rewarding? I suppose not. I have an intense aversion to humans, and I want to be a recluse and live with six cats, like Edward Gorey. But I digress. That’s not what I was going to write about here.

I started writing fiction long before blogs existed. I was eleven and started writing adventure stories that tended to be fantasy fiction. I began writing fiction because I found this reality intolerable. My protagonists were like imaginary friends, much like those of the British playwright Alan Aykeburn. They were nothing like the bullies at school. When I was fourteen, I thought everything I previously wrote was terrible and threw it all out. I continued writing fiction primarily for escapist/survival reasons. The downside to this particular writing motivation was that fiction is supposed to be about conflict—about trouble—and I wanted to avoid conflict. I was too kind to my protagonists and created too many nice characters.

Since my undergraduate days, my fiction has often contained—in addition to a great deal more conflict—autobiographical elements that were most emphatically not escapist. Yet in the mid-1990s I decided I wanted to write related short stories set in an alternate reality that would simply be fun and escapist, at least for me. Therefore I created the paranormal world in which my character Margot lives, and I began writing quite a few stories.

Since my father suddenly died of cancer in May of 2014, I have in some ways regressed. At first I thought I would be more dedicated to Buddhism…but instead I immersed myself in gothic novels and resumed writing fiction set in Margot’s paranormal world. I’ve regressed to escapism instead of mindfulness. This is hardly the best coping mechanism, I know, but it has been creatively productive. I completed a gothic novel, and a novel critique group has been giving me great feedback; I’ve been revising in response to that feedback, and now I’m contacting agents and publishers. I’ve resumed working on another gothic novel set in the same world. More story ideas have been bouncing off these novels, and I’ve begun submitting a couple such completed stories.

I hope someday that all this work will be rewarded with publication. In the meantime, I shall keep writing and keep submitting my writing. Certainly, a lot of fiction writing is rewarding in itself.

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