I’m less than six weeks out from NaNoWriMo and my focus is on prepping the sequel to the book I wrote last April, which includes acquainting myself with the new characters and constructing a loose plan. As always, it’s the characters that drive the story. Six weeks until the intense marathon that’s NaNo. I love the intensity and single-minded focus. I also enjoy the camaraderie among the participants. This year I’ll have twice as many “writing buddies” also making the journey.
The looming November 1st date has led to reflecting on the time since April. Besides editing the first book, the time was spent writing short stories. Hits and misses. Somewhere, a long while back, I read a caution advising writers to avoid attempting fantasy short stories.
There’s truth in that.
Oh, it isn’t impossible, but it isn’t easy, either. The shorts that worked best for me were those least dependent upon the fantasy element. Those that struggled did so because there wasn’t sufficient time to acquaint the reader with the world and how it works.
Earlier this month I read an excellent post by Kaitlin Hillerich at Ink and Quills where she made a case for the novella. Oddly enough, earlier that day the topic had crossed my mind and pop! there was her post in my inbox. I won’t recap the article (check it out!), but I’m excited at the possibilities.
I’ve read some excellent novellas this year. For instance, though I don’t read much YA fiction, the steampunk novellas written by Madeleine D’Este that follow the antics of Evangeline are wonderful. Might novella length save several of the short stories I wrote? Possible. Too, in the back of my mind the creative machines are coming to life to generate fantasy novella ideas. What a great way to pave the way for the novels or fill in gaps. Too, the time and financial commitments are lower.
Short stories. Novellas. Novels. I find I cherish the ability to choose from among multiple formats. Was this how Beethoven felt when mulling sonatas, concertos, and symphonies? (We’ll ignore the fact he had a better ear when he was deaf than I had at any point in my life.) Of course, it isn’t about variety for variety’s sake, but about the right fit for the story needing told—and I have a massive number of those.
Much of 2016 remains. More editing. Perhaps a novella. NaNoWriMo. At the same time, I’m looking forward to the upcoming year. I feel possibilities coming. I shiver with the thought that maybe all the hard work will begin to crystalize. Oh, what a wondrous thing is creativity.