Winter writing retreat, day 8

Today is going to be another late-writing day. Which is fine — there’s a reason my mother cross-stitched this for me a few years ago:

This overlooks my desk in my study.
This overlooks my desk in my study.

So I’m up for it.

But I’m running late because today has been an on-again/off-again writing day, not much of a “retreat” at all. I’m off the novel at the moment, for one thing, and back to those chapbooks I mentioned last week. Late last night, I finally found a title for one of them (titles drive me bonkers) and I got it sent off for consideration, but that whole process made me eager to wrap up the other chapbook. So that’s what I’ve spent today dabbling in.

The problem with the new chapbook is that it’s not quite complete. I was reconsidering it last night and again early this morning, and I wound up pulling a story from it, but now it feels a bit slight and there’s a missing connection between the first and third piece. So I’ve been trying to work that out. Do I write a new story? Do I find an old story that fits? I’ve tried both several times today, but without much luck, so I keep setting the work aside, hoping an hour here, a couple of hours there, might eventually give me fresh perspective.

This afternoon, I did find an existing story that might fit the gap quite well, but it’s an oldie and needs some reworking. Funny how we do that to ourselves as we grow in our craft: what looked fantastic ten years ago looks stilted and dated now. So I’m revising heavily, and when I’m done, I’ll see how it looks in the chapbook. Might not even be the right piece when I’m done with it. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’ve also been writing character scenes and notes for when I get back to the novel, which is always on my mind these days. So regardless what happens with this story later tonight, I’ll be getting back to longform fiction tomorrow.

And so the retreat continues!

Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

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