Conversational Overload

May 24th, 2013  |  Published in ShoStoWriMo

Sorry about the radio silence, I spent a week in Colorado, which was nice but prevented me from getting any real writing done (although I did produce a bunch of notes for upcoming stories). I did get some reading done, however.

It is often said that Speculative Fiction (and I would argue all of fiction) is one big conversation stretching back to the first time someone said “What if . . .” This conversation isn’t always obvious, there is no comprehensive guide that will tell you what a particular story was responding to or if it was the basis for a new thread of conversation. In my experience, the only way to pick it out is to read a lot of it and tease out the connections on your own.

Anyone who writes a story is part of that conversation, which is one of the reasons that I love short fiction, because you don’t have to write a novel to participate (which isn’t to say that writing short fiction is any easier than writing a novel). This month I have been making a concerted effort to read a lot of short fiction, an effort in which I have been moderately successful (I’ve still been reading an ebook novel before I go to sleep every night, but that is largely because the anthology I wanted to read in that time slot is, somehow, not available as an ebook).

I have read some good stories, a lot of mediocre ones, and a few that have been just bad. The good ones are very entertaining, and the bad ones are unfortunate, but it is the middle category that creates a problem. I have read a number of stories to which I really want to respond, in story form. Of course, I’m already working on something. So I make notes and push them out of my mind. Then my frustrated subconscious starts pushing stories into my head fully-formed, stories which I do not have the time to write at present.

I feel full to bursting with stories, and it is frustrating. But I should stop whining, it’s better than writers block after all. In any case, I should get some work done on Assassination so that I can placate my subconscious before it kills me.

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