I’ve posted the first part of Chapter 3, “A Swing Session with Death”, in Fred, Again. In my own mind, this part isn’t as strong as the previous entries. I’m finding that it’s awfully hard to write good funny stuff consistently. How can writers like Terry Pratchett and Craig Shaw Gardner and Mark Twain keep it up for the entire length of a book?
Actually, I suppose that if I weren’t rushing through this to meet my daily word count for National Novel Writing Month (and I’m already a bit behind — hopefully I can make it up this weekend) I could probably make this work much better. I remember that when I was writing “The Unrevealed Tort, Revealed”, which is just over three hundred words long, it took me quite awhile. It’s a bit of a nonsense piece, but I think it’s funny; but I struggled with it for a long time. I knew I couldn’t repeat myself, I knew that each joke had to be unexpected, but coming up with funny, unexpected stuff line after line after line, even in such a short piece, was just plain difficult. It was a good learning experience, though.
And Fred, Again is turning out to be a good learning experience as well. I just hope I learn from it.
I’m beginning to reconsider my writing goals and direction. In August 2004, I made the conscious decision, after thirty-six years of just noodling around, to take my writing very seriously for a change (it was a good idea; since then I’ve published three short stories, for a grand total of ten dollars), and I sketched out a long-term plan which had me finishing up The Road to Gilead by now and starting work on a series of short stories and novels all developing the Terassic Cycle.
Instead, though, I’ve found myself writing a number of stories that take place in the “Mollyverse”, and publishing primarily humorous pieces, and not getting anything at all written in the Terassic Universe stories. Whenever I sit down to work on The Road to Gilead, my interest factor just sort of vanishes. I’d rather be doing anything at the time than writing. I force perhaps a few hundred words out, and then save it and go watch reruns of Family Guy.
It’s different when I’m writing either Mollyverse stories or humorous stories; I have a lot of fun when I’m writing those, and the words usually seem to just flow (and sometimes they don’t). So I think I’m going to put the Terassic Cycle projects on hold for awhile, and focus on these things. And I’ve been told by several people that my writing is strongest when I’m doing the funny stuff anyway.
So, you may see Fred, Again (or some heavily rewritten version thereof) on the shelves long before you ever see The Road to Gilead.
Anyway. That’s all for now. Go back to reading Fred, Again.