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A Tale of Two Stories: Defeating Writers Block

It is the best of times and worst of times. As it was put to me by a trusted writing mentor, “The window is open.” I have sold some stories. I have engaged with some editors and have had interest in other stories. All of this is good for an up-and-coming writer. The window is open and I should take full advantage of that. On the other hand, I’ve now been trying to conquer the same story since January. Longer really. And it isn’t working. Fortunately, some clear-headed thinking has finally prevailed.

Let me step back. This is the tale of two stories. Let’s call one of these stories “London” and the other, “Paris.”

“London” is a big story, with a long and complicated history. It is s story built on the tradition of Campbell and Asimov and Clarke. I first got the idea for this story some time in 1998 (I could check the exact date, but I’m feeling too lazy at the moment.) It never really went anywhere until a few years back when I attempted to write the story as part of NaNoWriMo. I “won” NaNo, but failed at completing the story, or bringing it much beyond 55,000 words. I tried a second time the following year, and managed to completely rewrite the story, and get as far as 65,000 words. But then it died again.

I decided this year that rather than write it at length, I would write it as a series of interconnected stories. I wrote one story in the universe that was rejected by all of the major markets, for what I now see are sound reasons. But I’ve been trying to write this story, “London,” since January and is is really going nowhere. I have thousands of words in my deleted scenes files, perhaps even 10,000 words. And only about 4,000 that I’ve kept, and I still feel the story isn’t working well. It’s not that the writing is bad, but I’m not sure how to tell it. I keep wanting to change the voice of the narrator, the point of view, so many other elements that it is a constant mash of yuck.

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