Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Unfinished novels

I had to smile at this little snippet in the latest issue of Mslexia:

"At 'six-time failed novelist' Steve Wilson calls for fellow failed novelists to show their faces. "It's time for us to face our shame and share our failures, bathe in our lack of dedication, explore our artistic nebbishness." Each unpublished novel is accompanied by a 'reason abandoned'."

I quite like the sound of this. I could fill a double-decker bus with the files containing all my unfinished novels, some of which date back to my earliest days as a new writer, nearly (gulp) twenty years ago. Since then my style has changed and so have my interests; a vast sci-fi tome, for instance, is unlikely to ever see the light of day because apart from a very occasional flash story I no longer dabble in that genre.

Others may still get tugged off the shelf and fiddled with from time to time, and there's at least two that I still have high hopes of finishing, One Of These Days. In the end, though, I think my biggest downfall is concentration. It's so hard to focus on just one mammoth project long enough to get it written, edited, polished, re-written and submitted somewhere. Some writers can do all that in a matter of months or even weeks, but it takes me years.

The one thing that puts me off joining Steve Wilson at unfinishednovels is the implication that you have to share the entire work with the group. That could give rise to copyright or 'previous publication' issues if hell ever freezes over and I do finish one of my babies. Otherwise, I'd be in there like a shot. If nothing else, it sounds like the perfect place to waste more time that I should really be spending... um... finishing a novel.

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