Monday, June 9, 2008

Unfinished manuscripts - explore your creative bent

Last week Melissa at Writing Forward posted about trying out different types of writing as a way of growing as a writer. I have to agree with this suggestion wholeheartedly after my experiences of growth following my blog start-up and participating in NaNoWriMo last November. I wrote about my NaNo experience in early December in a post event summary “NaNoWriMo - I survived!

But what has happened with writing fiction since NaNo? Glad you asked. I have not edited my NaNo manuscript; it’s true, I haven’t. I did print the whole thing out and stick it in a notebook finally though; but I have not read it from beginning to end, yet. Not doing those things does not mean that NaNo was pointless of a waste of precious time.

Since the month of NaNo I have been finding my writing and my writing ideas growing tremendously. I have developed a more sophisticated storytelling even in my nonfiction column which tends to be about people and nonprofit organizations.

The other growth point has to do with writing fiction. I generally have not thought of myself as a fiction writer. There is a funny twist to this in that when defining myself as a writer people tend to ask if I am writing a novel. But, I don’t have experience in scene creation or dialogue upon which fiction is dependent to attract an audience of readers. Nevertheless, my outlook on fiction writing has been coming around since November.

An online paper I read has a story writing competition every winter beginning in January. They propose a main character, scene, and a bit of background. Then each of the four follow-on sections is selected from submissions by readers one at a time. It is always set in the county and incorporates real places and landmarks.

This year's prompt really intrigued me so I developed and wrote my take on section one. While I was pleased overall, I did not submit it. But printing out my NaNo novel brought it to mind and a reread prompted me to wonder how I might have written a next section. This would be an exercise because the paper has completed its story for this year. However, I think working on this is in the spirit of Melissa’s suggestion to tryout a different genre by more than just dabbling. Probably just editing and rewriting the current section would fulfill that prompt, but it would leave the heroine at a cliffhanger and I don’t think I could leave her there forever.

So, have you tried a type of writing you don’t have much experience in creating? If you have, what became of your manuscript, maybe it’s time to reread it again. If you haven’t, maybe it’s time to stop procrastinating. Either way, share your writing experience or plans in the comments.


Melissa Donovan said...

Yes! I'm trying out some collaborative fiction via role-playing online. It's doing wonders for my fiction writing and it's fun to interact in scenes with other writers. But, it's pretty addictive so don't say I didn't warn you!

Thanks for the link love ;)

Melissa Donovan

G's Cottage said...

@Melissa - you're welcome and thanks for the suggestion that trying out a new genre needs to be a substantial piece to get a feel for it. I think all writer's start a different style for a few paragraphs and then bail just before they might have gotten over the hump. That was a benefit to committing to do NaNo for 30 days not just 50K words; it took that many days to start hearing my own fiction voice. I still don't know what I will do with at the moment, but that's okay.