Fiction vs. Nonfiction — Or is it really a competition?

As I’ve been working this week on the assessment read-through for Perceval’s Shadow, I’ve been astounded by how much I accomplished with the first draft, including additional research, character work, new medical and psychology research, notes and questions, and orchestra concert programs.  All that written material has helped me get back into the story of this novel.

The novel itself exists as a skeleton of a story.  The structure forms the bones, the plot points the joints on which the story turns.  I left some scenes incomplete because I hadn’t a clue how to complete them.  Now I have a better idea.  I’ve also noticed several places in the story so far that I chose to summarize and they need their own chapters with action scenes.  They need to be shown, not told.  A big hole is at the beginning before Evan leaves Buenos Aires — I need to spend some time with him, his “cousin” Alicia, and his manager, Nigel.  I shirked, in the first draft, developing his psychological reactions although the bare bones are there.  I’m now halfway through the assessment.  I expect to finish it by the end of the month, if not sooner.

Also this week, I’ve worked on nonfiction.  I’ve begun another blog under a pen name over at Google, entitled Eyes on Life.  It’s commentary about life on this planet.  Related to the blog, I’m working on op-ed essays to submit to U.S. newspapers.  Slipped in here and there, I’m working on my Mensa regular monthly essays and developing stand-alone essays.

How did I get so caught up in essays?  Good grief.  And I’m already encountering schedule problems.  I could use about 36 hours in a day instead of 24.

Anyway, the job search led nowhere.  Over thirty months and nothing.  I decided to bite the writing bullet and return to freelance writing, but in a different way.  For some time now I’ve dreamed of having my own newspaper commentary column.  You know, like the ones in the op-ed pages.  With the retirement of Andy Rooney from 60 Minutes, and then his death, I’ve felt a cosmic push to follow that dream.  My approached is two-pronged: the Eyes on Life blog and writing op-ed pieces in the hope of snagging a column offer.

Following this column dream is a HUGE risk, of course.  The way I look at it, though, the job hunt was a risk with absolutely no guarantee, and I think I have a better chance of success with my column dream.  The Dooms have descended: is my writing good enough?  Will anyone want to read my ideas?  Why am I putting myself through this?  What do I do if I fail?  What do I do if I succeed?

As a professional writer, I’m used to dealing with The Dooms.  In the past, I’ve worked at reasoning with the doubts and fears, or boxing them up and packing them away.  I know what they’re about and their source.  Recently, with the help of Harry Potter, I’ve realized that I need to use the fear, channel it into positive, constructive action.  After all, there is a lot of energy associated with anxiety and fear.

One thing I have noticed since I started on this path: I’m happy.  I’m no longer worried and obsessing about money or finding a suitable job.  I should be worried about money, and it mystifies me that I’m not.  But that’s OK.  Now, I’ll have the energy to obsess about when I’ll finish which essay for which paper, blog posts and work on the Novel 2 revision….




3 responses to “Fiction vs. Nonfiction — Or is it really a competition?

  1. Thanks Pianist Stephen Hough for the share. Sometimes a job search can involve a long time. But you shouldn’t aim for a long, drawn-out job search. It’s difficult to get traction and sustain momentum when your pace is too slow.

  2. I communicate better in writing than in spoken word. I think it is because I can edit myself a lot better. Granted, I do type off the cuff, and does get me into trouble. I do not tell others what I am writing for fear of them wanting to read my progress. My writing mentor is a different kettle of fish; he wants to see all levels of the products my brain has to offer.

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