In a comment to my last entry, dichroic says: You know how you always say you're really a novel writer rather than a short-story writer? Is that really correct, or are you really a *novels* writer, as in sequels and trilogies and serials, at heart? Seems like you get issued a lot of very big stories to tell.
I think the lady's onto something.
I think the essential problem is with how I think of stories in the first place. I've talked about this before, how I am not a "plot" writer or a "character" writer but a relationship writer. I see (and "see" is wrong; "feel" is the verb, but that carries connotations of "emote" when what I want is "perceive") fiction as a gravitational system. A relativistic gravitational system, not a Newtonian one: spacetime warps around characters to different degrees. (You can take the girl out of the lab....) I've said all this before, I know, so I won't go into it much more unless someone has questions about what the heck I mean.
The problem -- and in terms of starting to write, of having stories to write, this is not a problem at all -- is that this is not a static system. When you start them up, you're pretty much going until the heat death of the universe. Or at least until the sun goes kerblooey. There are lots of interesting stories to tell before the sun goes kerblooey, in most situations. ("Kerblooey" is a technical physics term.) I don't tend to show up five seconds before a star goes nova and write the last five seconds of the solar system. Relationships do interesting things after they've averted disaster once, or after they haven't. Which is why I'm writing the Carter Hall stories: yes, the Tam Lin story is an interesting one, and I will enjoy writing The True Tale of Carter Hall when I get to it, but -- for heaven's sake, those people are still wandering around with each other, only now there's a baby born to save her (or his, but in this case, Jessica's) father from the Queen of Air and Darkness's tithe to hell, and you can't tell me the way the parents relate to that baby, the way that baby relates to the world, is of no interest. Shoemaker-Levy 9 was very dramatic, but what Jupiter did afterwards was fascinating.
So I think I am more prone to committing series because of this. Because I don't think in terms of plot arcs so much as plot conic sections in a gravitationally warped spacetime. I think this may be an inherent feature of how I deal with story. Even when I know where to stop telling the specific novel -- which I think I do pretty well -- it's still a dynamic system in my head.
I'm not entirely sure how this relates to ksumnersmith and matociquala's entries about stories and how they spin, because the snapshots of these dynamic gravitational entities -- or, in normal language, these novels -- feel like rocks in my head. The rocks are really representative of at least four dimensions of system. But also they are rocks. That are novels.
Umm. Maybe I will go sit in the corner and sing quietly to myself now.