(This post was originally written on 750words.com. It has been edited.)
Because I work late tonight, I’m getting my 750 words out now. I really should start doing it in the morning, but the problem is that I have to turn on my computer to do them, and then I start checking my readers first. So I had started not turning on my computer in the mornings, just skimming on my iPhone, but I can’t write my 750 words on my iPhone. So, something else, then. I’ll figure it out eventually.
Won’t I? I kind of cling to that belief. That things will work themselves out in the end. But where is the end? That’s what I worry about. It feels like it’s already been too long for my life to actually start. I’m still not published. I still don’t know how to get published, really. Sam wrote a great post this morning about why would he want to be published by a publication that he doesn’t even read. That’s exactly it. If I can’t find what I want to read, how do I know where to publish what I write? It’s obviously not out there. That’s why I’m writing it.
That was how I started writing fan fiction, too. I couldn’t find the stories I wanted, so I had to write them myself. Now it’s true of pro fiction. I can’t find the fiction I want to read. It’s why I’m reading so much non fiction these days. Because if I’m going to read something, I want to learn something interesting along the way. If it’s not going to be a story with characters I love, it might as well be a topic I want to know more about. That’s not to say I want to forsake fiction completely. I love fiction. I love writing fiction more than anything. But I don’t know how to get my stories published because I don’t see my stories out there at all. So do I just keep writing and hope? Do I find the closest place and send it out to them, hoping they want something new?
There’s an IKEA catalogue on the table next to me. The tagline on the spine is Hooray for the everyday. That should be my motto, too. I like everyday stories. I like characters. I like love stories and lifelong friendships. Because I don’t have those things in my own life, right? I write them into stories. A group of artists. I want to be a part of a group of artists, but I’m not. So I write them into stories. I write tiny bits of a world I want to live in. This one wants to be about Shakespeare. Write what you know best, right? I’ve been doing research to write all sorts of other worlds, but I know Shakespeare without having to do anything at all. I spent a lifetime in school knowing Shakespeare. So why didn’t I write this story before? Because it’s obvious. We tend to think we know everything there is to know about Shakespeare. That all the stories have been told. They haven’t. They’ve only been told in a million different ways to make us think they’ve been done. But there’s still so much in there to be teased out.
Henry V at the Bard proved that to me. As soon as it was over, I started writing notes for a story about a group of travelling players. But then I realised how much it already sounds like my Terminal story. And how much they both fit into my simple love stories about people already together and figuring things out. I like first time stories, but I’m so much more fond of established relationship. I love how people live together, how things adapt to fit. How things don’t fit, and the tension that comes out of that. Those are the kinds of stories I want. Not really the ones about people getting together, but being together, and the fighting and the breakfasts and the ways that life happens all around you and how you happen to life, too.