Experiments in Composition

I felt really awful about my last NaNoWriMo novel—its plot too outlandish, its protagonist not quite snarky enough, the rises and falls of action uneven and poorly planned. I thought it so dreadful that I preferred to forget it entirely until I realized that it was my first extended narrative that followed a single character and a single story line.

The realization that it was a new task, that I had pushed my boundaries and expanded my skill set, made me feel better about the work. Nothing about the work itself changed, just my perspective.  Overall, I feel good about my writing when I accomplish something new. I have been proud of particularly concise blog posts. (I tend to wordiness). I felt good about attempting to draw the paranormal into a story. At various times, I’ve experimented with rhyming poetry and with free verse, and whenever anything remotely adequate has surfaced in those experiments, they have satisfied me.

Pushing my boundaries makes me satisfied in my work. Overall, I’d say my fiction benefits from my “know-it-all” quiz-bowl-champ side. Maybe my readers disagree, but I enjoy the Neal Stephenson, “push as much extraneous information as  possible into fiction” approach in both my reading and writing. I try to keep my sentences varied. My diction precise.  My villains not quite villainous, my heroines not quite nice.

I have been told that I portray women’s friendships well, which certainly is one of the goals of my writing. Feminism informs a lot of my work, and the more that I can celebrate that tradition and work its ideas in, the prouder of it I am.

So as long as I write about friendships between women in new experiences, where all those new experiences and the characters involved include a lot of background information that is actually connected to the world, I can be quite happy about my writing.

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