From Short to Long

I seriously need to stop writing short stories for the moment and get some real work done on my novels.  I’ve been poking at the novels a little, 500 words here, 1000 words there.  That would be fine if I wanted to write one or two books a year.  But I don’t.  I intend to write five.

Short stories are so satisfying, however.  I can start and end in the same sitting and have a finished product in relatively few hours.  Writing a novel takes more time, a lot more.  Even at my fastest typing speed while composing new words (I think I’ve written about 1500 words in an hour before), I couldn’t write a novel in a day, much less in the 4-7 hours a short story generally takes me.  I think if I absolutely had to, I could write a novel in about 7-8 days (novel here being defined as at least 85-90k words).  I’ve written 13k words in a day before, but my hands and tendons were not my biggest fan afterward.

I’ve been trying to write short stories and novels at the same time, and really, I just end up doing short stories because it still counts as writing in my brain and they are much more satisfying in the short run.  But the novels have to get done  for me to stay on goal this year (and on goal for my career plans).  So after this week (because I have three story ideas that HAVE to get done right now according to my brain), I’m done with short fiction until a couple of those novels get out the door.  Three more stories will put my total up to 29 on submission, which is respectable I think.

Then, longer stuff.  I think I can finish my middle grade novel by the end of may if I buckle down next week.  After that I’ll have five or six weeks to finish my thriller novel before I leave on vacation in July.  Then I plan to use July as a break month and write a more short stories before August when I’ll hopefully complete another (shortish) novel.  I figure Sept and October I can get another novel done, leaving Nov and Dec to finish the fifth novel, as well as more short stories.  Looking at the numbers and knowing I need to get novel writing done, I’m thinking I won’t hit 80 short stories out by the end of the year.  But five novels will make me happy and I think I can still manage to get 50 or so shorts out by January.

Of course, in the middle of this I’ve decided to take on another project that will be a giant experiment (and I’m not going to jinx myself by talking about it too much here).  I will say that I’ve been doing a lot of research into getting multiple streams of income going and have an idea for something that might or might not pay off.  But it will be awesome to write, so that’s a perk already.

Ok, time to get some words done on a short story or my middle grade.  I have the sneaking suspicion that two out of the three stories I want to write this week will end up being 7-12k words long.  I’m going to try really hard to keep them under 10k so as not to limit my markets too much, but in the end the story will be as long as it requires.

10 Responses to “From Short to Long”

  1. thomaskcarpenter

    I’ve been doing one or the other the last few years. Working on a novel right now after finishing four short stories and did a novel before that.

    I’m really amazed at the amount of short stories that you have out circulating. Are they all at pro markets or have some of them filtered down to the lower token ranks? I’d be curious to see your submission list (which ones you send to in what order.) I have one myself but it doesn’t have twenty nine entries.


    • izanobu

      One of those stories is at reprint markets, one out to a children’s magazine, three are literary fiction. I think the lowest paying market I have anything out to at the moment is Shimmer, which is 1 cent a word but I absolutely love that mag and they get lots of big name authors, so I include them in my list.

      For each story I generally start at the top paying markets first (Clarkesworld, Pedestal, Strange Horizons, Fantasy, etc) and then move down to semi-pro markets I like such as ASIM, Shimmer, Electric Velociopede, the various pod casts, etc.

      Basically I aim to get paid at least 10 bucks for each hour of writing as my bare minimum. And there are lots of markets 🙂 (I also send spec fic stories out to high paying literary markets because you never know what might strike an editor’s fancy).

  2. Alex J. Kane

    Hey, Izanobu, I sent you a private message on the WOTF forums. Just have a question for you about the contest.


  3. thomaskcarpenter

    Ahh.. the literary markets. That explains it. I’ll have to try that when I’ve worn out the rejection slips at the others (I also send to those pros/semi-pros).

    Any suggestions on the literary markets to send to?


    • izanobu

      hey, tom, you are on the WotF boards, yes? Send me a private message with your email there and I’ll email you a list of every market I’ve sent stuff to so far 🙂

  4. thomaskcarpenter

    Okay. Logging in over there to do that.


  5. Alex J. Kane

    Gracias! Looks like there’s 11 or 12 markets that I’ve never heard of or considered, so that’s definitely a good thing.

    I reread DW Smith’s “Killing the Sacred Cows” today–the most important chapters, at least–and I’m starting to fall toward that Dark Side you’re so fond of, haha. The idea that a first draft is not far from the best that a story can be without starting completely over is fairly liberating, actually. Very inspiring stuff. I’m still skeptical at the extremeness of some of his comments, but I think that the attitude he’s advocating is definitely a good way to go about the business.

    • izanobu

      Hahaha, drink the koolaid, Alex! 🙂

      Really, Dean isn’t that extreme. He’s just advocating the same thing Heinlein was when the Rules for Writers got written up, and adding in his own experiences and knowledge to it.

      I’m glad you are finding some of the ideas liberating, that’s sort of how I felt too reading those chapters for the first time. It was very much an “aha” sort of thing. And so far, I’m liking the results I’m getting. I figure I’ll keep doing what I’m doing unless it stops working, then I’ll try something else. But sitting down and writing a lot and sending stuff out seems to be pretty common sense to me 🙂

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