Thursday 20 June 2013

The Write Way...

OK, so the title's been used before, but I like a bad pun, and it's appropriate.

I've started two novels in earnest in the last year, and neither is going particularly anywhere. The most recent one I know I'm just around the corner from it taking off, but I'm not sure where it's ultimately going and while I love the core idea I'm feeling less enthusiastic about the rest of it - the bits that make it more than just an idea. (Unenthusiastic is maybe not entirely the right feeling here, it's just not quite 'clicking' for me.)

I'm not looking for advice, there's plenty of that around and I firmly believe that what works for one person doesn't work for everyone. But also that there will be a right way if you look for it and you persevere.

Here's the thing. My writing is naturally getting longer. I wrote a couple of six/ seven thousand word short stories without particularly struggling, and a ten thousand word one shortly before that. When a story clicks and I just write without a word count in mind that seems to be getting naturally longer, I seem to be writing more.

Maybe I just need to write a few short stories and let my form naturally lengthen, instead of trying to jump straight to novel. I think I stalled a little too long at the flash fiction stage (and I'll be the first to admit that's because I really love flash fiction and if I could make a living just writing five of those (or more) a week I totally would).

You'll see the short stories at some point, assuming when I re-look at them and edit them I think they're actually any good. Two of them are set in the same world, although not, yet, connected.

I'm not entirely decided on a publication route (or, attempted publication). There are a few outlets for shorts, which would get my name out there if accepted, but then that's a one-off appearance in all likelihood, and then it disappears. Then there's the Kindle Singles route; they fall in the bottom end of the word count and they would always be there for people to discover, but obviously they wouldn't have the existing readership of a magazine or website.

One of the driving forces behind my writing is wanting to be read. I have stories to tell, stories in my head that I think are exciting, and I want to share them. Just as I did with my flash, for a while, and with my 101s.

Recently, for my birthday, I made my flash collection, This is the New Plan, free for the day. Between US, UK and (oddly) Germany, people picked up 69 copies. It was enough to push me to number 11 in the US free sci fi anthology chart (and maybe higher, as a few more copies ticked over after I went to bed). I find it quite a fascinating thing, the numbers.

That's more than I've sold in the almost a year it's been published. If you fancy picking it up for free, I'll be doing it again when the book is one year old, in about a week's time. I don't imagine as many will go, but it will be interesting to see.

I'm also going to do something a little different for the Xeroversary this year. The last two years I've had guest flash fiction, and while I was a more active member of the #fridayflash group that felt appropriate. This year, I'll post a few days of short samples from the stuff I'm working on. The novels, the short stories, and I'll hope people like what they see. =)


  1. Best of luck! I've had flash blow up into a 180,000 word epic, at a time I thought I was committed to writing shorts, so it will come.

    1. Cheers, Larry. I think the thing to never lose sight of is that I think I write my best when I'm enjoying myself, and one day I'll hopefully enjoy myself right to the end of a novel. ;)

  2. the bits that make it more than just an idea

    That's where I struggle as well, and why my novel, currently at 25,000 words, is stalled. Oh, it's coming together (eventually), but it's hard work. I sometimes have to think about the little flash that started it, and the big idea that it became, in order to keep inspired.

    As always... *salutes* Carry on, good sir. We shall persevere. And have a bit of enjoyment while we're at it, damn it.

    1. *returns salute*



      That's another thing I'd like to get to at some point. Expanding some of my flashes. =)

  3. I think a driving force for all of us John is wanting to be read. Good luck, you'll get there. I turned a flash into a serial and now I'm contemplating turning that into a novel. Sometimes some stories are just meant to be longer.