On the right, you can see that I have completed my latest fantasy/romance short. It’s in the mail, on its way to Writers of the Future. I had a hard time making the decision about where I wanted to send it. Right now I only have two stories out to editors. One is a science fiction novelette, the other is a literary short. I’m not sure how my new story will do at WotF this time. It’s different; not a whole lot like what has appeared in their anthology in recent years. But David Farland is now the judge, so maybe he has different tastes. I have to admit, getting an honorable mention last year gave me a charge, and since then that story has been getting lots of praise. They will have the one I just sent them for around three months though. I decided to send it to them because really, three months is just a typical waiting period, and I can write a bunch of things in the meantime.
Now that the story is off, I need to think about what I’m doing next. I keep coming back to the advice George R.R. Martin gave me last year–keep writing short things, and keep submitting short things for five years (meaning five years of having a really professional attitude about writing, not just five years of dabbling here and there). That’s how long he said it will take to really master plotting and story development, and then after that, I can move on to novels and things will be much easier (and successful). I’ve done a lot of experimenting since then (LOTS of experimenting) to see how true this is for me. After writing parts on novels throughout last year, and writing short stories and novelettes, I can say now, with some experience, that George’s advice works for me.
|Yes, it was worth the hours and hours in blazing sun and 100 degree temps (but I looked AWFUL!)|
Of course, there are plenty of other writers who write nothing but novels their entire career. Very successful careers have been built on novels alone. But my brain seems to be wired to work in the shorter form right now. One frustration this causes is that so many of the markets for short fantasy/romance have disappeared. It is balanced, however, with the popularity of ebooks. With ebooks, my stories can still reach readers, more than before because not everyone will be able to find a particular magazine on the news stand, but when you browse for ebooks, they are all right there.
I have a novel going right now, which is an idea I had several years ago. I work on it for a little while, then set it aside, then come back to it, and each time I have something new to bring to it, something that makes it work a little better. Someday I will finish it (I always just say, “next year…”), but honestly, when I look at that project, I can tell that I am not ready to write it yet. I still have four years of shorts left to write ;-).
So, today I begin another short story. I wish I could share more information about it, but if I want to submit to WotF, I can’t give away titles or info that gives away who wrote the story (and since I’m Facebook friends with Dave, who knows, he might actually be a closet reader of my blog…right.). The closest I can come to describing it is a mythic fantasy love story.
In other news, I’m going to do ROW 80 (ahem, don’t I say that every quarter?), and this time focus on short stuff only. I would love to get 6 more stories done by the end of the year. I think that is pretty realistic. But more about goals in another post!