So I’ve been working on this novel.
The first draft is almost finished. It’s rough and raw. I’ve used two alternating narrators, sort of like Gone Girl, although I actually took the idea from Success by Martin Amis (worth a read if you like misanthropic tragedy).
Unlike most of my short stories, in this WIP, there is a clear protagonist and a clear antagonist. Writing a nice character in first person isn’t something that comes naturally to me (if you’ve met me IRL, you’ll understand). But once I started on it, once I worked out their personality, they became less of a dull cypher with which to drive the story and they grew into their own, quite interesting person. I like my protagonist so much I’m even considering not killing her off.
Another thing I’m pleased with is that there is tension. By switching narrators, you can make it a wonderful game of cat and mouse. You can also add Easter Eggs within the story. For example, a scene set in the same place, at the same time, but told from two different points of view.
Do I prefer writing short stories? Tough to say.
A short story is like knocking back a shot of tequila. There ain’t much room for subtly. A swift blow to the gut and then onto the next one.
Writing a novel is like a fine wine. I’m not much of a connoisseur, but I imagine when people say wine has hints of beetroot or petrol or whatever, it can be likened to the depth and layers you can give a novel (unless you’re James Patterson, of course, in which case the analogy here is necking a pint of Tesco Value vodka).
Right now I’m using the short stories as a palette cleanser.
You can become a little myopic whilst writing a novel. It’s nice to take a step back every now and then. Plus, there’s so much death, heartbreak and bleakness in the novel that my short stories seem kind of light in comparison. I mean it’s still blackly funny (at least I think it is), but the villain is so horrible, that I get a little weary if I spend too long wallowing in his mind.
I think Perfect Anastasia will be the last thing I’ll put out of a while. I want to concentrate on finishing the novel and getting this collection of short stories together (so far there are about 25, about 15 of which are good-to-go).
I also have a science fiction thing I’m working on, but that’s a whole other blog entry, a whole different thing.
And there’s the cocktail book, but … well …
Sometimes, you know, I wish my brain would just shut the fuck up and give me some peace.
All I really want to do is drink Scotch and listen to Mazzy Star.