Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Stories That Became A Novel

As many of you know, my MFA thesis, the creative part anyway, is comprised of various short stories and a script for a short film. For as long as I can remember, although I devour novels like extra hot Buffalo wangs (yes- WANGS) with blue cheese dressing, the short story has always been my preferred method of storytelling. My reasoning was always something along the lines of, "I have Adult ADHD and it won't allow me to concentrate on anything longer than a short story."

But on Monday one of the women in my Writing Workshop called bullshit on my whole plan and said the thing I've been avoiding forever and ever and a day: "These aren't short stories; these are snippets of a novel."

What. The. Fuck.

As soon as she said that to me, with a little smirk and a glimmer in her eye, I knew she was right. This is why the stories weren't coming together the way I wanted them to. The details were jumbled. The flow was off. The meat and potatoes of it needed more sazón. All because I was trying to keep them apart when CLEARLY they belong together. Enfermos is not a collection of short stories, it's a *GASP* novel. So I need to start treating it as such.

This epiphany, for as much as it solves some key problems in the stories, creates a whole new set of issues: Which story goes first? How do I mesh them? Do I have to pick only ONE narrator or can I have many?

*pulls out hair*

Should I go in chronological order or take the reader on a crazy ride into the past, then to the future, before letting them settle into the present? And my script, I suppose, needs to part ways with this new incarnation of my tales. A divorce of sorts. Learn to stand on its own 25 minutes.


I was totally fretting over this Monday night and all of Tuesday; I got very little sleep and have been irritable to the nth degree. I've lost all desire to eat, leave the house, think, write, breathe. All because my stories have evolved without me, because I still see them as stories and really, all they want for me to know is that they've metamorphosed into a novel while I was busy not paying attention.

Maybe I'm feeling a little betrayed by my words, that they would reveal themselves to Theresa and not to me, their mother. Perhaps this is what I need to come to terms with before I dive in and restructure the entire thing?

Whatever it is, I'm warning y'all- this shit right here? This is worse than PMS. Take cover.

*smooches...overwhelmed but ready to do the work*
I feel like my stories are teenagers, asserting their independence and shit. maybe I should give them the "THIS HOUSE IS NOT A DEMOCRACY" speech I gave my babies...

and I dare one of you heifers to talk shit about my writing tools... DARE. YOU.