Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing: Death Match! Short Stories vs The Novel! Lay your bets!

Uh Oh.

I have an idea for a novel. AND IT WON'T LET ME GO.

Over the years I've had a few ideas for novels come and, 99% of the time, go. Either they don't interest me enough to sustain me up to X-ty thousands of words, someone beats me to the idea, or the idea isn't big enough for novel size.

But this one...this one *shakes clenched fists, looks like she's just drunk three cans of Coke Zero in quick succession*

It's been brewing for a bit now. I got me a fantasy species. I got my main characters. I got my setting. Buuuut I wasn't particularly happy with one of the MCs...then my setting fell down in an earthquake. Yeah, I was gonna take a shot at setting it partially in Christchurch - who says our parochial little corners of the globe can't be magical?

Then I had BRAIN LIGHTNING recently: "Why not make the earthquake PART OF THE STORY?!" And then: "Why not turn that kinda boring male MC...into a woman?!" And ZOMG. Puzzle pieces. CLICK.

Here's the thing: I'm not sure if I'm ready to transition into The Novel yet. I'm really enjoying the flow  and easy flush of success from completing short stories. I know short story and novel writing are two completely different beasts. Novels require an attention span that I'm not sure I have - I talk a lot about my procrastination problems, and if I'm not getting the easy fix like I get from writing, submitting and selling short stories I'm afraid I might start large with big intentions but peter out. I do that a lot with big projects.

I also don't feel like I've established myself as a credible writer, and I like that I'm doing that with short stories. That is, I really want some big sales under my belt before I transition so I have something to take to a publisher/my audience when/if I ever start shopping a manuscript. I'm talking total basics here. I might end up self publishing once I get my head around New Publishing and how to properly market myself.

And so. Towards A Plan. I think my next step from here would be to make a writing plan for The Novel, and since I'm such a bebeh writer I'm going to have to research how to do that. I made the mistake once (and only once) of attempting NaNoWriMo with a half-assed plan. Heck, it wasn't even one fiftieth of a plan. And guess what? I failed miserably.  So this time round? This plan has got to be TIGHT. But with enough room for my characters and story to drive itself. Oy vey.

Scaring the living crap outta me? You betcha. But right now, I have my safety blanket of writing short stories. And hey, I didn't think I could start doing that a little over a year ago, and look where I am now. Even the act of saying something about The Novel (it will for ever by capitalized) makes it feel more concrete, more like I'm going to DO IT.

Persistence, my young padawan.

Science Fiction: Brought to you by the letter "J"


  1. Good luck! Have you considered starting with a short story set in the world or centered round a minor character in your novel? It would let you play a bit more, and if you don't think it's going to work you still have a short. Of course, this would only work for some types of novel ideas...

  2. Yes, that is an excellent idea. I did a drive by of that idea last night actually, and think I'll come back to it once I've written a Novel Plan and I can decide what to pick out and focus a short on.