POINT OF VIEW: Writing Short vs. Writing Long

Hey all…

I am finally moving along on my latest novel, “The Long Redemption” – it’s set in the same universe as the “Liminal Sky” trilogy, but with a whole different setting and cast of characters.

For the last three years, I have written two novels a year, and this year, I am giving myself a little break and just doing this one. It’s due by the start of October, so I have nine months to complete it instead of six.

So what am I doing with the extra time, you ask?

I hav set my sights on conquering SiffWah. The Science Fiction Writer’s Association.

There are a couple ways to become a SFWA member. I don’t have high enough sales for the first way, which requires single book sales of a certain dollar amount in a twelve month period for full membership. But there’s a lower tier of membership that you can reach with short story sales in sci fi markets.

So I am writing a bunch of shorts.

My first one, “Chinatown,” has already been submitted. My second one, “The Last Run,” is about halfway done.

And the process is bringing home to me the great difference between writing a short story and writing a full-length novel.

I world build. It’s one of my main strengths as a writer – I love creating a rich tapestry for my readers, done over the length of the story in small pieces so that it’s never overwhelming.

In a short story, you don’t have the luxury to space things out. Nevertheless, I am trying to create fully-realized worlds on a much smaller canvass in these shorts. It’s a challenge, especially since some magazines that I want to submit to have fairly low maximum word counts. So, as is the case with good flash fiction, I have to make sure every word, every line, every scene counts, and I am keeping a constant eye on my overall word count as the stories progress.

It’s interesting working on two stories in parallel – I find that they tend to feed off each other, and sometimes one inspires an idea in the other.

In any case, I’ve committed myself to this writing model for the next nine months. It may make me crazy. I just hope it bears fruit in the end!

To my writer friends – have you every juggled short and long stories at the same time? How did it affect your writing? And any tricks or tips you want to share?

1 thought on “POINT OF VIEW: Writing Short vs. Writing Long”

  1. The last few years I’ve been doing mainly short-stories. But I have a completed (and very hetero) mystery novel actually finished, and an LGBT (Okay, GB) themed YA novel that I’ve sporadically worked on for a few more years.

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