samuel x. brase likes to write

The Work that Goes On

Posted in second novel by Sam X. on 13 September 2010

The problem with writing a novel is that while the end result is fucking awesome, it takes a lot of time to get from point A (zero pages) to point B (300 well edited pages). This is in comparison to a short story, say, of zero to 20 pages. You can take a week to plan the short, write it in a week, give it a couple weeks distance and edit it after. Five weeks work for what’s probably a fun, tight short story.

I don’t mind either of those situations, except that for the duration of the novel, I have no new short stories to add to my roster of material that can make the submission rounds. Subsequently, I now have a bunch of stories that have either been accepted or rejected 15 times and nothing new to get out. I feel out of touch when I’m not submitting stories.

Nothing to be done for that, I suppose. I could take a break from the novel and write a short but–then I’d delay finishing my novel by at least 2-3 weeks. That doesn’t sound very attractive. So I suck it up and press on.

The novel itself goes well. Even in rough draft, I feel much more energized by the language in it than in my previous novel. My personal style, slowly crystallizing since junior year of college (2004), continues to develop. Reading Ulysses is slow going (I frequently fantasize about reading something else) but extremely worthwhile; it is, in fact, less like reading a book and more like reading a manual that rewires your brain, demolishes your previous views of language and then rebuilds in its own likeness.

I’m not saying I want to write like James Joyce; I’m not saying I ever could. I don’t want to, because while its possibly the most beautiful writing on the planet, it also keeps its ideas enigmatic. I’d rather be less confusing. But still, occasionally I write a sentence and think to myself, “Goddammit, too much Joyce in that one.” Usually, I let it slide.


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