I've been working on this Discipline of Fun thing -- that is, pursuing fun in writing, with the fun itself being as much an end as the actual finished manuscript. Well, look at it this way: if it is fun, there's more likely to be a finished manuscript, right? So the question is, how do you going about making it fun, all or at least most of the time?
That is the quest.
Amber Lough made a great suggestion:
"Jacqui Robbins gave me a great idea yesterday---have a secret notebook in which I should write a super secret novel that NO ONE will EVER read. It's fantastic to write in it because there is absolutely no pressure and my internal editor is bored."
I love this idea. For drama you can keep your secret notebook locked in some carved chest under the bed and only pull it out late at night when everyone else is sleeping. Write only by candlelight. Slip into a different mindset, a different world. How fun would that be?!
The trouble for me, though, is keeping the mental state over a period of time. I can be un-precious with a story in the early stages, but once I get into it and start to love it, then I can't help but think, "Ooh, this is my next-next novel. Ooh, I want it to be perfect." And then the fun starts to dribble down the drain, to be replaced by the dreaded perfectionism.
Which is where I'm at now: balanced precariously on the edge of fun. (Help me!) The last few days in a little spare time I dabbled with a short story I've been wanting to write, and it's been REALLY FUN. I'm writing in first person (my books are all in third), in a contemporary voice, and the subject matter is a combination of whimsy and the surreal and humor and DOOM. It's a premise that tickles me pink, with a title I adore, and on top of all that, I'm falling in love with my character. That beautiful thing is happening where the story unfurls itself effortlessly and things happen, like, out of nowhere. Like it's all really happening in a parallel dimension and someone is transmitting it to your brain? Like that.
But because of all that wonderfulness, because I'm falling in love with it, I'm starting to get precious with it. And not only that:
This *short story* is petitioning me to become a NOVEL.
A NOVEL! Ridiculous! You're a short story, darn you! BE A SHORT STORY!!!
All right, all right. FINE! I may as well admit it. This is not a short story. It needs to be a novel. Like I really need another one of those right now. *sigh* But what can I do? There's just too much potential for development in this idea, this premise, this plot, these characters, for it not to be a novel. Which means I can't write it right now. While it was a short story, I could justify spending a few days on it right now, for fun and warm-up, etc. Now that it is clearly a novel, I can't. I'm already writing one of those! So do I have to just put this away, then? In the midst of all this fun?
Can somebody please freeze time? Please? There are too many books I want to write, and I am too slow.
This post didn't turn out to be so much about the Discipline of Fun, did it? Oh well. I'm tired and I need to go to bed.