I was informed today when the admins for the Faulkner-Wisdom contest confirmed my entry that the deadline had been extended until May 1st. This both bothers and pleases me. It bothers me because that means I will have to wait longer for the results of the short story, entitled Fated Family, to be announced; it pleases me because that gives me time to consider if I want to submit my novel-in-progress that I had originally planned to submit but hadn’t found the time to finish by the deadline.
For the novel-in-progress, they want an outline and synopsis and the first 50 or so pages, up to 12,500 total words, including the outline and synopsis. I had not finished the synopsis, because I haven’t finished the book, and I usually only write the synopsis once the book is finished. The reason? With characters like mine, anything goes. They never seem to do what I tell them to. I sort of consider myself an observer, not a writer, really. I create these people in my head, or else they come to me from some unknown universe or expanse, and then they start living their lives, and I, like the voyeur I know myself to be, begin writing their stories.
Along the way, they do things that surprise me, amaze me, leave me stupefied, and sometimes even enrage me. As it is with these ‘fake’ people in my head so it is with the real people in my life. That, I think, is what makes the writing real, when the characters do the things ordinary people would do, only… more poetically, more interestingly, more… well, more adverbially. Not really. I try to shun the use of extraneous adverbs in my writing. Really, I do. Truly. Honestly.
The point is, I never know how a story will turn out until I get there and write it. Or rather, until the characters live it. But, as Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird , ( a book I highly recommend and am still laughing through, while nodding in a knowing and understanding way) we should have a goal to strive for, a plan, even if the final version doesn’t come out exactly the way I planned. So I guess I’m going to write the synopsis and hope the characters go along with my plan. I’m thinking it’ll be okay if they don’t as well, as long as I can get close, huh?
So if you’re entering this contest or wanted to enter it and didn’t make the deadline, you now have another month. Wish me luck!
Love and stuff,