April 24, 2017

The Twists and Turns of the Author Farmer

• By John F. Chisholm •

I’ve just finished a novel.  It’s far from my first.  In terms of length, this one is just right.  Sure, some authors produce longer works.  Doubtless others have shorter.  I don’t worry about length.

I do worry though.  That’s because every story depends not just on the writing but on the premise, the underlying twist of reason that begins the story.

This shouldn’t be a difficult step.  Not for me.  I can prove that my reasoning is as twisted as anybody’s.  More.  Way more.

How about a few examples?

There’s Slim, the dashing young hyphen, willing to lay his life on the line.  Why not write about him?

Don’t forget Hannah, the older author with the colostomy.  Her semicolon punctuates her plots.  No longer requiring her asterisk, she puts on pounds instead.

Then there’s the capital shift in banking computers.  Don’t laugh.  It makes a living for their keyboard operators.

And sure, today, computer literacy is crucial to everyone’s education.  But is it legal ― or prudent ― for future astronauts to spend so much time leaning over a space bar?

And so on.  The ideas for new novels begin at your fingertips.  But time becomes the issue.  You can’t write them all.  No one could.  Perhaps having a plot line as twisted as mine isn’t the advantage  I imagined way back when I began writing.  But at this point, I’m stuck with it.

That’s because I didn’t recognize the point where I stopped writing because writing began composing me instead.  But it happened.  Seriously.  Like that typist who stopped drinking Fresca (Why ruin your keyboard with another diet cola when Tab is already there?), I require work to stabilize my mind.  So until I begin another novel, don’t expect me to be sane.

In fact, sanity and me?

We don’t talk.  But like the length of a novel, is that really a crucial consideration?