The Story Muse


In one of the more haunting issues of The Sandman by Neil Gaiman—#17 to be exact—there is a character named Richard Madoc who becomes cursed with more stories than he can possibly write down. Instead of facing writer’s block, he’s dealing with writer’s diarrhea, and he goes quite batshit as a result. It’s a fabulous issue, and completely terrifying in many respects to any author. I recommend it—as I recommend that whole series.

I have not yet achieved Richard Madoc’s level of batshit. But it does seem that I’m getting more ideas for stories than should be allowed. I’ve started several different ones in the past couple of weeks, all of them shiny and new, when I should be working on the book that’s under contract. I’ve been working on it too, of course—but the ideas keep coming. Since I’m kind of a slow writer, I get excited by 2-3,000 words per day when that’s pretty meh for most writers. (I tried writing with Nicole Peeler once. That was an exercise in humility. She wrote like 1,500 words in an hour and I only shat out 553. She is super-fly T.N.T. ) So when I wrote 3K the other day I was ecstatic, until I remembered it wasn’t on my novel, but on a short story for which I’d never be paid. Arrrgh!

No. You know what? Wheee! Writing the stories was fun, damn it! And I am still enough of a newb to find all the writing fun. I’m not sure when I’ll find time to finish the stories, since the beat of the deadline drum grows ever louder, but they do serve to help me blow off some steam when I feel temporarily stymied by events in the book. And that, more than anything, is why I refuse to get too upset by getting distracted. When a book is giving you trouble, working on alternate projects always keeps you productive.

There are days, of course, when nothing helps. On those days, there is pie.

Comments

Carolyn Crane said…
Great post! Isn't the thing you're not supposed to be working on always so shiny and exciting? And hey, 2-3K wordcount? That is massive. I usually clock in a 1000 myself.
Dream said…
Hi Kevin, whatever you're doing keep doing it :) I'm such a fan of your Iron Druid Chronicles books and can't wait for book 4! My main reading preferences are historical romance and romantic suspense and I picked up book1 of your series on a whim and once done had to get books 2 and 3 immediately. This was a surprise for me because I stopped reading anything with vamps or werewolves for about 2 yrs now but your books weren't abt vamps or werewolf soulmates and having omniscient power. Your mix of mythology and adventure and humor was just what I needed. Love Atticus and Oberon!
mark said…
Who says you'll never get paid for it? There are many anthologies yet to be published that just might be in need of a Kevin Hearne short story one day and when that happens you'll be ahead of the game. They may also spark an idea for a future book in a new series (or stand alone) assuming they're not Iron Druid stories, which if they were you'd already have an audience for them (and you know we'd pay). So keep on writing, whatever inspires you at the moment, even if it isn't your current contract project.
Miss Bliss said…
YAY for the short story madness. I LOVE short stories and recently there's been a real short story lovefest going on in the publishing world. Very good chance you could sell that puppy once it gets polished. Heck...if all else fails you could always release it yourself as an e-short on Amazon. I'd buy it.
Brenda Hyde said…
One day you can put that story on Amazon and sell like a million copies for .99. O_O

Can I say that I am slower at writing that you are, and have ideas hitting me in the brain left and right on a daily basis. Seriously. I tend to get stuck on the small things, so I'm working on that. I'm behind on NaMo but feeling chill about it. Last year I barely fed the kids and ended up not happy with the story.

Nicole must be like a crazy super writer to get those word counts. Shhh...don't tell her I said that:)

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