Forking Paths · 9:32pm
In my last blog post, I happened to mention that I've written a lot of original fiction in the time since I finished Besides the Will of Evil. Several of the comments that followed questioned where they might find it.
The answer is: not many places. I confess, here, that as a writer I am somewhat ambitious. I write to please myself and my readers, of course; if I'm not happy with a work, and then you, in turn, aren't happy with it, then it's a failure. But, especially when it comes to my original fiction, I tend to chase after grandeur and glory. My dream is to be, not merely a writer, but a great writer, and for my work to outlive me to a large degree. I dream of writing works people will read a thousand years from now. I dream of melding beauty of poetics with beauty of storytelling in a way that rivals the finest writers ever to work in the English language--or any language, for that matter.
So, from this, it follows that I've tried to make my way as a "real" writer, whatever that precisely means. I mentioned I have a fantasy novel and am working on its sequel. I haven't put it up as an ebook, and would prefer not to do so. I'm currently searching for a literary agent who will represent me, with the goal of getting that novel and its sequels published by a publisher. It's been hard going so far. The going has been so hard that sometimes I wonder if my work is really good, after all. But enough people have told me it is that I believe it, and I believe in myself, also. I've then had cause to wonder if my work is simply different from most of what's published today in the fantasy genre. In story, perhaps, but also in style; you all traced how my abilities as a stylist evolved over the course of BTWOE. I experimented on you all, after a fashion; I seemed to discover a secret of harmony and beauty in prose, and I poured it into the last three-quarters of the fic. I wonder if that style of mine, which isn't exactly rote and straightforward, hasn't turned some people off.
And, then, there's my non-fantasy, non-sci-fi fiction. I've grown to love writing realistic fiction, but not realistic in quite the Jonathan Franzen sense. My fiction, even when it's grounded, always seems romantic and strange. In this I follow the Romantic tradition that invests much of American literature, particularly Herman Melville's early work. I was reading Moby-Dick through some of the writing of BTWOE, and I was awed at how Melville could make gods of whales and kings of ship captains. I also am strongly influenced by Jorge Luis Borges, whom I believe I've mentioned before, in some blog post long ago. I suppose, then, that you could call me a magical realism writer, in the same vein as Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
From Borges I gather a lot of power as a short fiction writer. And, as with my novels, in short fiction I've tried to be a "real" writer, submitting my stories to magazines and websites. I haven't had much success, but I have had some. I've been hesitant to share it here on FIMFiction, simply because as a "real" writer I've let doubts and concerns about reputation creep in. This is the same reason I'm always so hesitant to use my real name here, despite it probably being easy to find through simple search engine digging. I like to maintain a distance between my fan-works and my original works. This is not because I feel my fan works are somehow shameful. Far from it--I have learned a lot as a fanfiction writer, and hope that some day far off that my fanfics will be collected with my original works. But it was always a question of precedence, for me. I would prefer to be known as an original fiction writer who writes good fanfics, not as a fanfic writer who writes good original fiction.
But this is all a vanity, an affectation of which I should cure myself. To that end, I'll share one of the few short story works of mine that have been published: http://www.theotherstories.org/episodes/episode-67-in-the-sun-by-c-a-shoultz/
It's a strange story; it still seems strange to me, who wrote it. It's about doubles and shadows and the blazing sun. The interview attached might be worth your time, because in it I detail the ideas and concerns that went into the story. You'll also get to hear my voice. Be warned, it's not me at my best, because I was battling a chronic cough at the time. It's different from my MLP fanfiction, as you'll see. But I think there is a thread that connects my fics to this story, also. I think my original fiction and my fanfiction are all of a piece. You readers may be able to see it better than I.