Why I'm pausing novel writing
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It’s not a unique story at all. My mom used to ask me to write to practice my handwriting. I remember the Lisa Frank notebook (and think I still have it somewhere…) with the vibrant jaguar cub on the cover. I wrote stories about Hansel and Gretel and Humpty Dumpty (I think he still fell off the wall), and I fell in love with storytelling.
I wrote my first novel when I was nine or ten years old (a whole ninety pages!) It was about a girl and her brother being sucked into a fairytale universe. The girl discovers she’s the long-lost princess of the kingdom and needs to fight for her throne against her evil uncle (I definitely still have this. I’m ninety percent sure where it is).
EDIT: I went searching for these binders and notebooks and I found them! I changed Humpty Dumpty from an egg to a nose, and I’m proud of young me for taking so much time revising (I think it’s my handwriting, but it could be my sister’s. She is still my first reader, and a great one!)
And we’re back
As I’ve taken my writing to publishing and learned the business, I’ve discovered that I’ve fallen out of love with long-form writing, like novels. While writing Son of Horus, I have been writing shorter pieces and sharing them with my writing group. The time spent on these pieces, writing, receiving feedback, and revising, have allowed me to grow so much as a writer. I’ve learned quickly and enjoyed being able to jump from story to story, starting fresh with a new character or new setting.
I sat down to write my next novel (working title: The Botanist) while Son of Horus is sent off to editors. I made it halfway through the novel but found myself continually getting stuck. I didn’t look forward to sitting down in the morning to write. I wanted to get back to my shorter pieces. For a while, I insisted on powering through. I need to write to publish and I enjoy writing dammit!
And then I listened to an interview with Elle Griffin. She spoke about serializing her novel through a subscription model and I came to a few realizations.
First, there is a readership for shorter pieces. In an age of thirty-second TikTok videos, I can find an audience that wants to be done with a story in five, ten, or twenty minutes, as opposed to a novel.
Next, I can still publish my work in novel-length form. I can have the best of both worlds. I can write the novel in real time, publishing a chapter at a time. My readers can actually participate in the writing process, giving feedback and suggestions that may make it into the story. These kinds of discussions have become my favorite part of writing. A few times a month, I meet with my writing groups. We read each other's work and just talk story. It’s a nerdy writer blast! And I get so much out of reading their work and hearing their feedback about my work. After all the chapters have been posted, I can take all that feedback, revise the work to be a full-length novel, and then publish as I have before, reaching readers that aren’t interested in following over several months, but just want the book all at once. It’s the best of both worlds, really.
Finally, I don’t want to write novels. At least, not right now. And that is okay. It took the interview with another writer who publishes in short form for me to put aside my work in progress and jump headfirst into all the short stories I’ve been tinkering with over the past year and a half. And just like that, I’m excited again! I can’t wait to share the different stories with you, some longer and broken into several parts and others as short as two pages. No industry rules of lengths! It’s 2022 and I don’t have to follow the rules. It’s pretty cool :)
So what does this mean? I have some cool projects in mind, some novel-length, some really short, and everything in between.
Where will I be publishing these shorter pieces? There are many options and I can publish across different platforms. I’m starting small (though it won’t look like it, that’s just how many options there are). You will be able to find my work on my website, Substack, Medium, Simily, and Wattpad. I’m new to most of these platforms and have been diving into the fiction available there. These platforms vary when it comes to paid and free. I will be keeping a chunk of my work available free and plan to continue that. With the next project, I’m going to develop a subscription system on substack. Readers can still get stories, but they won’t get the full series unless they subscribe (or wait for it to come out in novel-length form). More on that later, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
What will I be publishing? If you’ve been following me from the beginning, you will see some repeats leading up to the release of Son of Horus. I am finishing this project strong and will use that time to learn about publishing smaller works before I dive into the next big project. So I have some long and short stories in the Daughter of Isis universe to share with you through October. One never before seen story about a Toko will be out mid-June 2022, followed by AfterWorld shared in parts, and Ravenous, the Son of Horus teaser story.
After the release of Son of Horus, I’ll post a few stand-alone stories, leading up to the release of my Marredbury Series. This is the series that will require a subscription to receive the full series (you’ll still be able to enjoy Marredbury for free, just not all of it). Marredbury is a town you wouldn’t want to live in, a mix of horror, dark fantasy, and a little bit of SciFi. It’s Fear Street meets Welcome to Nightvale, and I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with this project. Keep an eye out for updates.
If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. I have been going back and forth, and then I have been diving into more learning with this pivot to shorter works and an even different kind of publishing. It wasn’t a decision I came to easily, but I am really hopeful about the direction I am moving. At the very least, it’ll be an exciting adventure, and I hope to enjoy it with you. I look forward to hearing more from my readers, what they like or don’t like about my work, what resonated with them, or just to say hi and tell me a bit about yourselves. Choosing short form will allow me to publish more often (at least once a month), and so I am here and ready to talk. And readers will be here and watching me stumble as I find my way. I promise it’ll be fun (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).