Writing this week has manifested in various false starts – my head is full of ideas, but when I start typing they quickly run out of steam. It isn’t writer’s block. It’s more like writer’s shallow idea syndrome.
Anybody else suffer WSIS or is it just me? I know some writers have a process when they hit a wall, they might play word games or switch from stories to poetry or turn to a particular style they don’t normally write in.
Still I managed to write 15,000 words of a novel, the first thing of that length since the summer of 2010. But it’s historical and I find it really tough to stick to historical things because my daily frame of reference is 2011 and when things inspire me during the day – overheard snippets of conversation, life in recession-Britain, and just modern-city-experiences – I can’t apply them and have to instead fabricate constantly.
What isn’t helping is focusing on experimental/postmodern fiction on the MA. I’m reading Italo Calvino and Woody Allen and trying out various postmodern story structures and experiments, things like:
Writing a story with copious footnotes, so really it’s two stories intertwined (try this it’s fun) (Read – Baker’s The Mezzanine)
Writing a story about a writer writing a story. Hmm, sounds a bit cliché but there’s been some classics in this format. (Attwood’s Blind Assassin)
Write a story in the form of dictionary descriptions – (I did this recently, but it’s hard to describe, I wrote ten keywords and then wrote ten passages like a ‘you would use this word in this way’ kind of thing, and the passages made a story.)
Print off some fiction that you have already, perhaps blow it up to font size 14, then cut all of the sentences, or words, out and rearrange them to make a new story. (Like Kathy Acker and William Burrows)
Make a story out of tweets, newspaper headlines/clippings or facebook statuses.
Rewrite an old classic like Tess of the D’urbervilles or Wuthering Heights, as a short story.
Write a story (or novel) where the chapters of the story are split up with chapters of discourse on the subject, involve your reader with a question and answer session, maybe a workshop or a quiz to see what they’ve remembered from the previous chapter.
So postmodernism…here is where I don’t explain what that means. You’ve got Google right? If you find out then please explain in a comment box on this page.
Here’s some good news for writers this week, did you ever wonder what good ever came from two or three centuries of subjugation under the British Empire? Maybe you feel like Britain should give something back to the mutilated Mau Mau rebels, the fifteen million forced migrants of the Transatlantic slave trade, or the ten million who died en route, or perhaps you resent all the Australian, Canadian and Indian troops who were killed in the world wars that Britain became involved with to maintain it’s dominance in world trade whilst later using more ethical and moral justifications. Well it’s here…..
The Commonwealth short story competition. FREE ENTRY to people who endured that horrible Empire (apart from Zimbabwe and Ireland and possibly Burma, you guys blew it, oh and America – the revolution was not cool!) If like me you aren’t doing the Nanowrimo write a novel in a month challenge, then this is for you. I’ll give you some tips – write a story between 2000-5000, don’t write anything naughty because it’s a family show, genre is allowed but the past winners tend to be very lit-fic, in my view. Send one off, you’ve got till the 30th and the prize is huge, or at least pretty big. Think of it as Britain putting something back…but not all the cool stuff we nicked in the first place and filled out museums with you can’t have any of that.
Anyway, this was meant to be a few words and then several photos I took earlier in the week, so enjoy looking and have a good weekend.