I’m in a writing lull. I think I know the cause, but the lull seems serious enough that I’ve pondered the unthinkable — to stop writing.
So, what’s the cause of this? Writing a story for which I do not know the how and when of the ending. Unfortunately, there are actually two stories I’m in the middle of writing for which this dilemma has appeared. Northville Five & Dime, what started as an 1,800 word short story from a prompt at We Drink Because We’re Poets and that I then submitted for critique at the Mendocino Coast Writer’s Conference. The story has now reached almost 22,000 words. I believe I am near the end of the story. I think. Maybe. The problem is I could see ending it in the next 500 words or going on for another 10,000 or 20,000 words and I’m frozen with the doubt that creates.
A friend said I should just write what comes out. I think that’s what I need to do. I have often said that one of the beauties of e-publishing is that length doesn’t matter. A story of an word count can be published now. So, Northville doesn’t have to be an 80,000 word novel. Or a 30,000 word novella. Or a 5,000 word short story. Instead, it can be the story it is. I just need to decide what that story is and then let it come out.
The other story is something I started a few weeks ago, thinking I would submit it for The Literary Syndicate’s Monsters Under the Bed collection. The story has crossed the 4,000 word threshold. I have no doubt I can get this story done in the required 5,000-15,000. Problem is that it’s horror and I’ve never written a true horror story. I’ve started something that I have absolutely no idea how to explain and how to end. So, it sits there and I stew.
That’s it. I can’t figure out how to end two stories and I am just frustrated. Enough to consider whether I want to keep writing. I’m not going to stop, but I’m looking at these two stories and thinking that if I can’t figure these out maybe it’s time for something else. Yes, I could go back to one of my half completed novels. I definitely know how both The Irrepairable Past and Terror in a Small Town will end. But, you know what my problem with those stories is … I’ve got the beginning, I know the end. It’s the vast mushy middle that is causing me a problem with both stories.
It’s like I’m losing the ability to find the connections that drive me through the writing of a story. It’s a scary thing. So, I ponder not doing this anymore.
And, tomorrow or maybe even right now, I’ll open the Northville document or the un-named horror story and see if I can make some progress. I think I’m going to try the horror story. We’ll see how it goes.