Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A Change of Mind and Other Stories Blog Tour Day 8 and IWSG

Happy Hump Day - it is Day 8 of my blog tour for my spec fic collection and today I'm over at The Girdle of Melian with Deniz Bevan, where I'm sharing a flash piece depicting an episode from my MC Reuben's childhood. There's also an excerpt from the novella at Cherie Reich's blog. Hope you can make it!


It is also the first Wednesday of the month and that means it's time for the Insecure Writers' Support Group. The group was founded by erstwhile Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh as a means for writers to reach out to others who are going through various tribulations of the writing life, as well as a safe place to talk about our own insecurities. Check out the other participants here. I'm not actually feeling too insecure, I've been having a great time and lots of encouraging messages on my blog tour, and I thank you one and all. 

I suppose the only thing that has been worrying me is I have not worked on any novels since NaNo last November. I have accomplished lots of smaller tasks (A-Z flash pieces, blog tour entries, submissions for Write 1 Sub 1). These are all well and good and every bit of writing keeps me ticking over. But I've fallen out of any sort of regular routine and can only seem to perform bite-sized writing jobs, done where I can fit them in. I've got the last part of my trilogy to write that I'd like to complete before the end of the year, but I just can't seem to knuckle down and do it.

Maybe it's the fact this book feels like more pressure than normal because it must wrap up a large story arc as well as present a great story in its own right. It's not the same as starting with a completely blank page, which perversely sounds more attractive right now. Don't get me wrong, I love the characters in my series to bits and want to see the best outcome for all the right people. But that's part of it as well. I don't want to let them down, so I'm holding off on addressing the issue.

Maybe it's my old stumbling block - which I have touched upon in one of my tour posts - that I'm more suited to writing short stories than novels. Still can't seem to get past this, and although I've already written two books for this series, I only feel like handling shorter pieces right now. On the other hand, I've just released a novella which has already had positive feedback. So that's kind of halfway there, right?

Just need to do it. I will motivate myself. We're also packing to move at the moment, which always throws me off, but that will be all done in a month. I also want to get back to submitting to Write 1 Sub 1 alongside my WIP, so I'll need to maintain a balance.

What about you? Do you feel you naturally gravitate towards a certain length of writing, and do you sometimes find it difficult operating outside that comfort zone?

42 comments:

Murees Dupé said...

Congratulations on your new book! I've been seeing it everywhere the past few days. You should really feel proud of yourself. I find writing shorter works of fiction unbelievably intimidating. I don't really know why. Wishing you tons of success with your new release.

SA Larsenッ said...

I think falling out of sorts with a regular writing schedule happens to all of us. At first, it's tough to see that as a positive. It really can be. Look at it as a time to climb the mountain to better writing, more of finding yourself as a writer. Live life. Experience. You can use all that to mold your next writing endeavor.

Sarah Foster said...

I'm actually the opposite--I find it hard to write shorter pieces, even though I'd really like to. All of the short stories I've written I've either hated, or felt the need to adapt them into novels.
Hope the blog tour continues to go well!!

Cherie Reich said...

I had those insecurities with my first published novel. I'd only published short stories up to novella-length works before then. What if I really didn't know anything about writing novels? Yet lately it seems like most of my ideas fit the longer form better than shorter ones. I think it is good to challenge ourselves. Maybe read back through what you have or read some other books for a while. Sometimes we're too close to a work and need to step back and let it sit before going back to it. I think moving would throw anyone off their game too. Good luck!

Nicki Elson said...

All writing is good writing. Maybe...is there a way to break the novel into smaller bits and tackle each one as if it's a shorter piece? Yeah, even as I said that it doesn't make sense. I do understand the pressure of not wanting to let your characters down - for this, I persistently remind myself that anything I write on the first draft can, and often does, get thrown out later. But diving in will bring you over the hump, I'm sure.

Good luck w/ the move!

betty said...

You got a lot on your plate with the move, etc., I bet when things calm down a bit you can get back on a schedule that you can write the book you need to write for your series. At least you know you have done lots of other good accomplishments over the months with your writer, you just haven't totally "vegged out" with it.

betty

diedre Knight said...

Ugh, moving is always a chore. I try to jazz myself with thoughts of the new place... Hope the move goes as smoothly as this book tour for you! I wouldn't worry about whether you write short stories or novels, what matters is that you write. Happy trails! :-)

blogoratti said...

Looks like its going to be a busy month for you,wish you all the best with everything!

Jennifer Hawes said...

It's funny how we're all wired differently. I can NOT see me writing short stories. Full length novels are for me. (Upper MG tends to run in the 50k for my genre). I admire people who can pull off flash fiction or novellas.

Chrys Fey said...

I haven't been working on my current WIP either. And I really need to. I think there's something in the water because a lot of use are having trouble writing right now.

Congratulations on the positive feedback!

M Pax said...

I've been struggling with focus lately too. Usually I break a project down into small bits so it doesn't seem so daunting. Maybe if you saw each scene as a story instead of a novel it'd help you.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Nick, I talk about something similar in my IWSG post. I'm finally accepting that I write short stories, that I write dark stuff, and I'm embracing all of it. :)

Good luck with moving! We finally got all our boxes unpacked...not that everything is away, just that the boxes are gone. :)

Carrie-Anne said...

Good luck with the moving!

After I finish a super-long book, I always have to take a break before diving back into another saga. It helps to work on revising much-shorter books in between. As badly as I'd like to get back to my Russian characters in their fourth volume, I need a long breather after finally finishing the 891K third volume in March. At least the fourth volume may be relatively short in comparison, perhaps only in the 300K vicinity.

Julie Flanders said...

Maybe you should do as Madeline suggested and embrace your short stories. You are so talented at writing short pieces! Perhaps you could focus on doing some of those for a while and take the pressure off yourself re: writing the novel. Come back to it when it feels right.
Good luck with your move! That alone is such a daunting task.

Krista McLaughlin said...

You are getting there! You have a novella out and I'm so proud of you!

I struggle with length sometimes too. I can hit 50k and I can barely make it longer than that. I want to make a longer story arch, but I get stuck. It's something I'd like to work on too. :)

Nick Wilford said...

Murees - Thanks! We're all different. I started off writing short stories and still would like to write a novel I'm really proud of.

SA - Great advice! I'll try to abide by it.

Sarah - I think a lot of people feel like that. There's more space to get the story written in a novel, but sometimes I take a long time to get there.

Cherie - Reborn is an excellent novel and you're great at all forms. I do need to sit down and go through my work so far, at the moment I don't know what'll happen at all in the last book and that's intimidating.

Nicki - No, that is very good advice! We can only do one page at a time. Or one word. Diving in is the only way forward.

Betty - I'm looking forward to when things settle down!

Diedre - Thanks! Yes, all writing is good, I know. I'm really excited about the new place. Just hate packing!

Nick Wilford said...

blogoratti - Definitely! Thanks.

Jennifer - Yeah, we're all different! 50k sounds like a pretty manageable length.

Chrys - It's funny, I feel like this year hasn't got going - although I have done quite a lot if I think about it! Good luck getting back to your WIP.

Mary - Good advice! I can't multitask, so it's gotta be one bit at a time.

Madeline - Good for you for embracing your strengths! Your flash fiction is awesome.

Carrie-Anne - Wow, I'm in awe. I can't imagine reading a book that long, let alone write one! I think your definitions of "long" and "short" may be different than most. :)

Julie - Definitely want to carry on writing short stories. It's a buzz! But once I crack the novel, I'll have fun with it too, I hope.

Krista - Sounds like we're in a similar boat. Hey, 50k is no mean feat. It's quality that counts, not quantity!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I read another post today where a writer felt relieved when she decided writing short stories made her happy instead of forcing her self to write novels. I say do what makes you happy to write.

Melissa said...

I tend to go all-or-nothing, so I go for the novels (big ones!). A novel is a big undertaking, but there's a great feeling of accomplishment when you finally get it done and polished. Don't give up too soon. Even if you write mostly short works, you should write a novel at least once. ;)

Good luck! And congrats on your newest release!
IWSG #126 until Alex culls the list again.

Diana Wilder said...

I'm finishing a novella ( ~40K words ) as opposed to my usual 100K - 125K. It's been hard to remember that since it's a fable, I don't have to be terribly 'deep'. A good learning experience.

(And it's set to be released around the end of August! Yikes! Must get things set up to go!)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Get through the move. Bet you're be excited to return to the story then.
Short novels seem to be my comfort zone.
Glad the tour is going well!

Loni Townsend said...

I flip between novellas and super-long novels. I say, if you're good at short stories and you enjoy writing them, go for it!

I hope your move goes well!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I think all lengths are pretty equal for me - although my novel attempt is very short (54k), so I don't think I'll be writing any sagas for a long while yet.

I'm sure it will all come right when you're ready. When you're least expecting it, you'll be motivated to write :-)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congrats again on your book, Nick! I've loved seeing it all over the blogsphere!
I go in seasons of writing - sometimes I like writing only short stuff, and sometimes I want to write the long stuff. I've been struggling with my third book in The Champion Trilogy - had to reboot it 4 times to get the "right" character development and it's been painful.

Hart Johnson said...

If you want a jump start on writing something, you're welcome to join BuNoWriMo--it is like NaNo, but smaller and we do it on facebook. It is only the third day so you have plenty of time to catch up!

Stephanie Faris said...

I think sometimes we're our own worst enemies! Honestly, I've read some really good short novels that were awesome, including some by our fellow bloggers. I'd FAR rather read a short novel than a ridiculously long one!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You just have to slowly train yourself to do longer or shorter pieces. My first fiction books were long but then I learned how to make them smaller and more acceptable in size.

J E Oneil said...

I've always written long--it's just how everything seems to come out. I've been trying some shorter pieces lately and it's not bad, just different. I just wish there was a trick to being able to write more.

Suze said...

I love the idea of not wanting to let your characters down, Nick. You're good people, Wilford! Even comes through in your craft.

Thanks so much for your sincere congratulations over at Nicki's blog. I really appreciated. I wish you the absolute best on your current tour. May your writing reach the hands, hearts and minds of the readers meant for it.

Patricia Lynne said...

I have a story that I wanted to write that was like a sequel to my first book. The first draft is done, but I haven't done anything with it because I feel so intimidated. Other ideas get in the way so I keep pushing it back instead of pushing through. That's what you might have to do. Just push through it and force yourself to work. I heard it only take 7-10 minutes for something to stop feeling like a chore and become more enjoyable.

Liz A. said...

Sometimes we just need a mental break before we can come back to something refreshed. A bunch of shorter material is your cleansing of the palate before getting back to the longer work.

I prefer longer fiction, but I may be changing. My writing has changed a lot, especially in the last year, so maybe it's time for me to explore shorter fiction.

Jay Noel said...

You can do it, we believe in you!

I spent many years writing short fiction, but I wanted to be a novelist. I read like a madman for about five years, examining my favorite books and paying attention to how authors constructed their big stories. It took awhile, but now I find 100,000 words to be my comfort zone.

To me, each chapter is a short story.

Heather R. Holden said...

Sorry you've had such a tough time writing novels lately. That's great how you've managed to be productive with shorts, though! It may not be the kind of writing you want to focus on right now, but it will help keep your skills sharp in the meantime. Anyway, best of luck! I'm sure you'll figure it out...

Jennifer said...

Congratulations on the story collection. I just picked up a copy, and I can't wait to read it.

As far as your question at the end, I don't usually gravitate towards a word count, but I always feel like what I'm writing should be longer, when it really doesn't need to be. So I end up padding perfectly good stories, turning them into perfectly mediocre ones.

Cynthia said...

My manuscripts can be long or short although when they are too short, I find myself trying to lengthen them and when they are too long, I spend time cutting out words. Either way, I'm sometimes left thinking, did I write enough?

Good luck with the packing and moving.

dolorah said...

So many writing decisions to make Nick. Cool to be busy, bummer to be so busy, lol. I started writing short stories and got addicted to the satisfying feeling of finishing a project. You have incintive, you will find motivation when you least expect it.

DEZMOND said...

better do what your hearts tells you to do right now! Short stories are uber cool!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Nick, for years I only wrote short stories and was scared to move on to novels. But, once I started writing novels, I was scared to write short stories.

Rachna Chhabria
Co-host IWSG
Rachna's Scriptorium

Medeia Sharif said...

Good luck with the move.

I always thought I was a novel person, with no success at short stories, but years later I can write both.

Gwen Gardner said...

You'll settle back into writing, Nick. Maybe just get through the move, then figure it out. You definitely don't need the stress right now so give yourself permission to take a little break.

My next novel is taking forever to get off the ground and it's making me antsy. It's funny, but I'm more comfortable writing novels than short stories. Short stories throw me off, it's like I don't know how to organize it. LOL. But I can organize a novel? Haha!

Michelle Wallace said...

I always maintain that I'm "wired" for short story writing. I'm actually a flash fiction junkie! It gives me a high. LOL
But I WILL complete that 'elusive' novella... one of these days...

Congrats once again on the release of your book.
It's been wonderful seeing your cover all over the blogosphere!

Deniz Bevan said...

I sort of have the same issue, but I can finish a novel just fine - it's when it comes to editing that I start stumbling... Okay, I procrastinate too :-)
Each chapter could be like a short story! Though, yes, then there's the overall arc and theme to consider.

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