I’ve dedicated 2014 to writing shorter works. This has already paid off with the recent publication of my 28K word novella, Closure. When I first started writing I couldn’t write a short work (defined by me as something not novel-length, or below 65K words, more or less) to save my life. But as the novel-length manuscripts spilled out, shorter works of less than 7500 words just popped into my head. I began to write them out either between my longer works or even during my longer works, when I was between revisions. And to my surprise I’m satisfied with the vast majority of them. Then came a slew of novelette- and novella-length works. I have yet to sell a short work of 7500 words or less (my shortest sale is Nit and that’s at about 18K words), but I am sending them out and learning just how to structure them to make them marketable. (Building up rejections is just a rite of passage in this business.)
So this year is supposed to be all about works below 65K words. I have several in my mind right now that I really want to sit down and write. And re-write. Then re-write again. And I want to take the revision hammer hard to the short stuff I’ve already penned, and see if I can drum up some interest out there somewhere. I think a success with just one of those 7500-word stories would do me good in a huge way.
My problem is I just cannot stop thinking about my next novel-length manuscript.
I already have the title: Dew Drops. I have the main character’s name (Layq-Ellen, a Lady of the Leaves), a few other character names (Abbix, Sledg, Mawk, Brold), and a pretty basic plot outline. The stories behind the characters are coming into shape very well, providing me with a strong set of story-length arcs. The main character’s dilemma is also taking strong shape. The setting is generally already formed—just need to give places names and character. I’ve even narrowed down how the people in this fantasy story keep time to some degree of accuracy from town to town. I think this will be my strongest novel yet.
But I don’t want to think about Dew Drops. I don’t want Layq-Ellen’s story to keep me awake at night. I’d much rather dwell on the characters and plot behind a story that’s been brewing in my mind for a couple of days now. It’s set in the same world as my recent novella Closure and will let me explore a lot more about the overnormal abilities. It’s called Fracture and it might be about the same length as Closure. I think it would be a great story to try to have published this year.
So I’m really trying hard to not think about Dew Drops. But I think as any author will tell you, as soon as an idea takes hold, it can be very much like an incessant, demanding child: “Mommy… Mommy… Mommy… Mom… Mom… Mommy… Mom… Mom. Mommy. Mom. Mom. Mommy!” (Well, probably should be ‘Daddy” but you get the idea.) I forced myself to wait once when a short story took hold of me—during the finals revisions for Witchblood . So I know I can put an idea aside if I really want to. This one, though, really wants to be written. Right now.