A fiction writer finds himself between projects. This can be scary, not knowing what is coming next, but it can also be a glorious feeling, delving into the unknown.
I’ve written a dozen novels and about a hundred short stories. I recently finished my most recent novel, a horror yarn, and now I’m between projects. I’ve also recently finished a few short stories I owed some editors, and those should see publication early next year.
But what to write next?
Some writers have all their projects lined up. They know each novel or story or article they will be writing for the next year or two. They plan ahead. I don’t usually work that way.
Oh, I’ve got thousands of ideas ready to go, but I don’t like to force one before I feel it’s right. Sometimes I have to let a story idea flounder around in my head for months or even years before I feel that not only is the time right for writing out this particular story, but that I’ve worked out enough of the details in my head to be able to do the story justice.
So, ideas are not a problem. I suppose I have to be in a particular mood, or at least I prefer to be, before starting a story. Sometimes I feel I have to be a little more mature, a little older before tackling a particular story, but this is mostly true concerning my more literary writings.
But all of that is just stuff I’m thinking in my head. I’m taking a few days off from daily writing, something I normally do after finishing a major project like a novel. I give myself a little rest, and I start thinking about what I really want to write next.
Lately I’ve been feeling the urge to get back into fantasy, especially something action oriented like Sword and Sorcery or epic fantasy, genres of which I’m experienced. I’ve also been in a mood to try something a little different.
I’ve been considering serializing a story. Instead of writing short stories or a novel, I’m thinking about writing a longer story in chunks, each one between 10,000 and 15,000 words. Some writers are finding a level of success by serializing their tales on blogs or in individual e-books. This is an idea that appeals to me because I can get out 10,000 words in a few days, ship it off to my editors and beta readers, then likely have the story ready for self publishing within another week. So, theoretically I could publish a new episode of a serialized story every two weeks, maybe one a week if I really pushed things.
The thing is, I’m not sure serialized fiction is a big seller, that it’s what readers want, especially fantasy readers. Today, serial fiction seems to be more common in the horror and erotica markets, but I’m not much interested in being an erotica writer and I have to be in a certain dark mood to write horror, and I’m simply not there right now.
But experimentation is one of the keys to success. Perhaps it is time to try something new.