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Narrative infidelity & the cheating curve

Narrative Infidelity

Back in April, I started writing ‘properly’. What I mean by ‘properly, is I regularly glued my rear to a chair and churned out words, with the idea that one day, I would have a novel to show for my efforts.voices-in-head

It’s officially July, so I’ve only been at this ‘properly’ for a few months. However, the process hasn’t been without its problems. It seems the more I write, the more I find myself cheating on my own stories.

Firstly, let me say that I accepted my calling to write a long time ago. I have acknowledged the voices in my head – who like to talk my ears off, if I don’t open a fresh word document and put fingers to keyboard. However, what I didn’t consider was that the competition for narrative dominance would be so loud or demanding!

My literary motto comes from E. L. Doctorow, who said, “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia”. And for good reason, it seems.

Fickle Fiction

Somewhere around 20,000 words into my original narrative (which I’ll refer to as Book A), a short story began calling for my attention. Since I needed a break from Book A, and I would rather write than not, I decided to give the short story a chance.

The short story was written and packed away into the archive.

I returned to working on Book A.

There I was, happily tapping away, when halfway through a scene, a horror plot snuck up on me, and the concept for Book B was born.

I furiously wrote down as much as I could so I didn’t lose the initial genesis of Book B. Once it was out of my head, I returned my focus to Book A…again.

After a flurry of a few more thousand (or so) words, Book A was shoved unceremoniously out of the way by a crime thriller!

Please welcome Book C.

Did I mention that the fantasy fiction I assumed would be my ‘go-to’ genre, has yet to make a solid and consistent appearance anywhere in my writing exploits? (Where are you Book D?)

The Cheating Curve

The more I write, the more ideas come to me! I’m like that kid in the Sixth Sense: I see plot developments and characters everywhere! Some are even dead too! Kudos to my creativity…not so great for my writing discipline.


I feel as if I’m cheating on my own story! Can I add that it is exhausting! How do people cheat in real life? Where do cheaters find the time and the energy? How do you keep everyone happy for Chrissake!?

Romance wants a handsome protagonist and some witty banter, but horror demands detailed scene-setting with chilling undertones. Fantasy needs solid world creation, but crime requires scientific fact. Each genre of fiction wants different things: tone, development style, speech patterns, research!

*mutters something about genres being a bunch of self-centred arseholes*

I need stability: a story I can rely on. I thought my days of flitting from one plot to another were done. I don’t have the energy to flirt with this many potential books! I should be in a monogamous relationship with only one story. Right? Isn’t that the appropriate way to do this thing called novel writing?

Maybe not…



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