It's been another long stretch without blogging. When I left you last, I talked about focusing my creative efforts into my novella-sized creative writing project. I've been quite private about the work, but it's at a point where I don't think it's going to fizzle out, so my insecurities have deemed it shareable, haha. And, here we are four months later, and I'm finally filling you in on what I've been up to, and saying a few words about why I have returned to A Splash of Ink.
The Creative Work
The creative writing project started when I was in my first year of university, and has since evolved into something that I hesitate to call a novel. I know this explanation is going to make me sound like a total literary hipster, but stay with me. The Project, as I somewhat affectionately have begun to call it, is a series of vignettes that piece together to tell a bigger story. Some of the vignettes are very short stories, some of them are lists, and some of them are more poetic. The vignettes that are the very short stories (usually 500-1500 words) are the foundation of the work, and the more experimental vignettes are used to fill out the story with extra-textual features.
Let me break it down with a simple example: first you have a short-story style vignette about Sally anxiously examining ingredient lists on processed food at the grocery store. The following vignette could be the Sally's to-do list. If we see that Sally has to schedule a doctor's appointment and go to the pharmacy on her to-do list, then we instantly get information about her character. We could make the connection that Sally has dietary restrictions based on an illness, and perhaps is anxious because she's worried it's getting worse, thus the doctor's appointment.
I'm interested in this style of writing because of how it engages the reader, and forces them to make inferences about the work. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I've really been enjoying writing in this style.
Okay, okay, so now you know the style I've been working in. But the big question is, what are you writing about?
Spoiler alert: It's not about Sally and the doctor's appointment.
In the very basic terms, it's the story of the staff at a public library as they deal with relationships within the workplace and the effects of what I've been calling "second-hand grief."
I took a blogging break to get some major work done on the project, so let's take a quick peek to see how far along it is:
When I returned to working seriously on the project, back in November of 2016, I had 15, 772 words written and 27 vignettes. These words were written sporadically between the Fall semester of my first year of university (Sept. 2014) and when I started again in November. As all young writers do, I went through phases of self-doubt before I fully committed.
As of today, I have completed 38, 332 and 79 vignettes.
Okay, so word counts are all well and good (I included them mostly for posterity and to make myself feel good, haha). However, they don't really give you an indication of the progress. My initial goal was to finish a draft by the end of December, so my prof could read it during her sabbatical. It's difficult to say when the first complete draft was finished because of the fluid nature of the vignettes. I'm forever moving vignettes around within the large document, and inserting new content. I have written the last chronological vignette, but I know there's still a few missing pieces in the middle.
That being said, the work was complete enough for my professor to read the piece, so I would consider it a win in my books (pun intended). I would consider myself to be solidly in the rewriting phase. I'm not overly concerned about word counts. I know this will be novella length, and that is fine. I expect it will be between 40, 000 and 50,000 words when it's finally done. That being said, the new goal is to have the project entirely complete by the end of the this calendar year, but we'll see what happens.
You might have found this entire writing update quite boring, but hopefully this final section piques all of the non-writers' interests.
If I think about the reasons why I took a blogging break, it was because the blog felt like a burden. I was a (
The reason why I knew it was time to come back was that I kept encountering books and ideas and would think, I should blog about that. I hadn't thought that for a long time. I think the appeal of blogging is that it's partly cathartic to hash out some ideas on the internet and partly validating to know that a few other people read it.
My blogging style might look a little different, and I am still focusing on completing the project, but I want to ease my way back into this lovely community. I've missed it.
I hope you are all well, and thank you to everyone who so kindly asked when I was coming back. That meant the world to me. And thank you for sticking around in my absence. I'd love to hear what you've been up to in the comments.
Reading: Through the Narrow Gate by Karen Armstrong