Someone asked me about doing a short story, and while I answered her, I thought other people probably have the same question so I’ll answer it in this post.
I have no plans to write short stories. Far too many people are dissatisfied with short stories. They want the stories to be longer. I don’t know if this is true for all authors or just me, but in my experience, most people want me to write a full-length novel. I see this based on sales, comments, reviews, and emails. Plus, when I write a short story, I can also see many ways for it to expand. There are some authors out there who specialize in short stories. Writing a short story is an art. It’s an art I don’t have a knack for. I admire authors who can successfully pull off a short story. I know they’re out there because I’ve seen them. 😀
I do best will full-length stories between 60,000 to 80,000 words. Now, that range can vary. I did write 114,000 words for Brave Beginnings, but that happened to be one of those books that never wanted to end and since the characters were guiding me, I went along with what they wanted. But my average is 70,000 words, which is why I put my word count goal for every book I start at 70,000. As I write the book, I get a better idea of whether it’ll be less or more than the 70,000-word goal.
So that’s why I don’t write short stories or novellas anymore. Writing is an evolving process. The more authors do it, the more they learn what works and what doesn’t. This is why I’m constantly accessing my strengths and weaknesses and trying to focus on my strengths. My strengths are full-length stand-alone historical western or Regency novels. I also need to let my characters guide me as I go. I can’t work with outlines until I’m about three chapters away from being done with a book, and that outline is basically keywords that remind me what comes next and keeps me on track to clean up loose ends. I’ve also learned that I can avoid rewriting if I take a break from a story if it stalls as I’m writing it. I can’t write scenes ahead because they rarely work out because the characters often steer me in direction I never saw coming. I have finally come to the point where I trust the characters to guide me, even if I worry (in the back of my mind) that they are screwing everything up. Every time I’ve done it they’re way, it works out great. Every time I didn’t, the story either needed to be rewritten or thrown out.
So basically, writing is not a one-size-fits-all venture, and not all books are the same because the characters have their own personalities. And even though I’ve been writing romances since very late 2007, I am still learning something new every time I write a book. This is why it seems like I’m changing my mind a lot. I’m always going through and figuring out how to make my current story better than the last one I wrote, and part of that is figuring out what I write best and how I write it best.
Hope that all makes sense. 😀