Writing Fiction – How Hard Can It Be?

So I’m going to try my hand at fiction.

I’ve never written fiction before.

How hard can it be, I asked, ducking the objects all my writer friends are currently lobbing at me.

I’ve written poetry all my life, articles like these sorts of things, autobiographical scribblings, narratives based on real events, but never a book with real dialog, pacing, something approaching a point. I’m very excited!

My fear, because if I didn’t have doubt and fear it wouldn’t be me, is that I’ll discover I’m awful at it, like, not where my skills could be polished no, just flat out Jr. High School kid who uses fancy words they saw on British T.V. and overwrought, sledgehammer to the head symbolism except I’m not 13 I’m 51, and that would be so very sad. It would crush me like the bolder of Sisyphus crashing down on his frail limbs while he raised is horror-stricken visage to the heavens above and shouted: “Why have you forsaken me!”

Like that.

This started because I had a waking dream so terrifying, I truly thought I losing my mind and may in fact die. I wrote it up, the whole thing had to be split into three parts, and prepared to publish it here when I realized it really isn’t appropriate for my blog, it’s not what I’m trying to do. So, I decided to write it up as a short story.

Then I realized that I’ve had many nightmares and D.T. dreams that could make really good scary stories if I can pull it off. (D.T. is “delirium tremens” and is the result of excessive drinking that affects the body in quite horrible ways. If you have them, call a doctor, because you need help, my friend. It’s not worth a story.)

I have come up with five that I can flesh out. I’m thinking an anthology. I’m designing the cover in my head and practicing what I’ll say on my book tour.

I laugh, but honestly, if any of my writing was going to make me money, it would be that. I write this blog to give back and because I enjoy it. I wrote Life Songs for my heart, and because it fills me, I believe my royalties total about 50 bucks at this point. To commemorate my first royalties ever, I bought a human phalanx, probably from a man based on the size, and made a necklace out of it. It has a locket that contains a few words from one of my poems. I have never made jewelry before and probably never will again, but it means the world to me, so I don’t care that it’s amateurish. I love it beyond measure.

fiction 4
 Forever resting on my heart.  Also, it’s legal to buy human bones in the U.S.

Now, it would not hurt my feelings if Life Songs suddenly sold thousands of copies, but I didn’t write it for that. And this blog has a specific mission statement, and there is no way to monetize it. My necklace is just for me, no one else would understand it without a long story. In fairness, most everything with me involves a long story so this blog won’t be done any time soon.

The other book I’m working on, which is decidedly not fiction, is going to be a great deal of work and research and talking to doctors and digging through some hard things from my past. I have no idea when that one could possibly be done, and no idea how it will be received. It will be another that I write for me, and for people with mental illness, and then who knows. Maybe it will hit a chord, maybe it will wither away. But I’m prepared for either.

But scary short stories? Now that could work. And that will be so much fun to write, I think. It feels good to start something new, something I’ve never done. It feels good to stretch myself and get out of my comfort zone. And it feels indescribably amazing to be able to do what I love.

Because the reality is that from getting Life Songs out, to publishing twice a week here, my serious book and my scary stories, to the paintings and jewelry and all creative work, none of this, not one thing, would be happening if I were still drinking. Nothing would have gotten done.

All of these heart-filling accomplishments would be another regret waiting to happen.

So, here’s to sobriety and all it can bring us. Here’s to all the stories it can tell.

What do you want to do, what would fill your heart and help you rise like Phoenix from the flames of turmoil to fly mighty Pegasus to the waiting arms of Zeus?

That, that right there. I really hope I don’t write like that.

 
Here’s a number for you if you are still drinking too much and need help.

National Helpline

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

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