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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » I've given myself permission

   
Author Topic: I've given myself permission
JeanneT
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as I posted in another thread--NOT to write short stories. If I ever feel drawn to write one mind you, I will. But for me it has always been something I was supposed to do. Not something I wanted to do. They're painful for me to write and WAY beyond painful to market.

People (including people on this forum) have told me for ages, if you don't like writing them then don't. And I've always had the "but I'm supposed to and they're good for building an audience" argument. Well, to h*** with that. It's not worth the angst. Imagine. Writing what I want to write. What a concept!

WHAT a relief!


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annepin
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Lol--good for you, JeanneT! Your logic sounds good to me. Esp since you're already got some books circulating out there. Why waste time on a form you don't like?

I've come to a similar decision, though I still have some short stories I want to write. I like the challenge of it, but ultimately I've given myself permission to focus on my novels.


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KStar
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Well done! I wrote my last one when I was fourteen I think.
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gobi13x
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I write plenty of short stories myself, because they are required by my writing classes. Otherwise, I do not.
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JeanneT
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You're right, annepin. Heck right now I'm about to start editing a novel I sold, shopping another novel to agents, going to workshop another novel (Neska's Tattoo) in April, and in the early stages of writing TWO more.

For me the real pain of short stories is coming up with a decent idea because my ideas just don't come out short story ones and then spending hours figuring out markets for the things. What format do they want, do they want it email or snail mail, do they even look at the kind of story I do?

It was my angst over that very issue with WotF that finally tore it for me. I had to ask why I was putting myself through that.

Sure I've published a couple. But they're now legitimate writing credits -- so I'm done. LOL

I can't tell you how happy I am about it.


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wrenbird
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I second your motion JeanneT. BTW, welcome back. It seems like you've been gone a while.

Anyway, I too have pretty much decided to axe the whole short story thing. Maybe one day I'll change my mind, who knows? But for now, I'm focusing on my novels.


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Crank
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Over the last year and a half, I've become disgruntled with the entire short story writing process. On the surface, I could factually claim that this particular stories were going nowhere. Still, I wondered sometimes...was my devolving attitude towards my short stories merely a subconscious aversion to having dedicated so much time and effort to a market segment that pays jack squat? After a while, I stopped wondering, and put all my short stories aside to focus on my two novels-in-progress.

A long-practiced writing rule of mine is that the story dictates the length. I've had intended short stories blossom into novels, because that was the best way to tell the story I wanted to tell. I've had intended novels that were sculpted down into poetry, for the very same reason. Except, during this recent stretch, I was using my rule to justify tossing aside any and all ideas that hinted at a short story or less word count; I didn't want to be distracted from my novels, after all. Subsequently, I was ignoring some potentially great ideas when they were fresh in my mind.

Good thing I keep notes.

I revisited my unfortunate practice last December. Sicne then, I've been pulling some of these ignored ideas back out of hiding, and working on them when the mood feels right. And, guess what? One of my 'expected' short stories just got integrated into a current novel that was missing that extra potential great idea.

Obviously, this revelation has encouraged me to continue with my short story projects. But, the day after my birthday, my young adult novel and I are going to see quite a bit of each other.

S!
S!...C!


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Robert Nowall
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I'm kinda disgruntled by writing short stories---mostly it's the lack of success in getting them published---but I'm kinda disgruntled by novel writing, too, mostly with the committment of time it takes to churn one out. (And the lack of succes, too.)

I've been stuck in neutral for a couple of months, though, so I'll take what comes out, when it comes...


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JeanneT
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Thanks, wrenbird. Yes, I didn't post for a while.

Like you I'm not ruling out writing them in the future. I'll just no longer force myself to do so because I should.

Robert, I have to agree that part of the frustration is selling them and in my case getting frustrated at being told that I am supposed to cut what I consider makes a fantasy a fantasy FROM my fantasies. *boggle*

The amazing thing is that I find it harder to sell short stories than novels. Now does THAT make sense?


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Robert Nowall
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Well, "lack of success" also leads me to a lot of thought on "should I be writing this?" Whether I should continue with SF and fantasy or find something else to write, actually. I've been meaning to throw together a lengthy essay on why I write what I write (when I am writing)---but it'd probably be too much to post it here.

Length does present the problem of being able to finish it---my last novel was done without firm ideas of how it would end, and stopped somewhere short of the end last August at one hundred thousand words. I'm intimidated by how much work I have to put into it to finish it---and that slows me up writingwise.

(Eitherway, welcome back, JeanneT.)


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luapc
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quote:
The amazing thing is that I find it harder to sell short stories than novels. Now does THAT make sense?

Actually, I think it makes a lot of sense. The wisdom of getting published in magazines like Analog, Asimov's, S&SF, etc. is old wisdom based upon a world when the Internet didn't exist for the average person and subscribers to these magazines numbered closer to 50 to 60 thousand than the paltry 14 or so thousand now. As time goes on, the subscribership dwindles and less and less people buy and read them. So too, goes the wisdom of building a readership through such means.

The problem with the industry is that it still is being run by editors who learned the business at that time, or from others from that time. As younger and younger editors come into the business, they are more comfortable with change and new authors who don't necessarily have so many short publications, as well as considering other avenues of promotion and publication, such as through blogs and forums.

Because of all of this, I think that short stories will continue to dwindle away in importance and influence in the publishing world. And, as they do, publishing a novel will continue to be less and less dependent on how many short stories were published by that author.

Things always change. It just takes a while for everything to catch up to it.


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JeanneT
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I'm not talking about just Analog and Asimov. There are many other more publications such as Strange Horizons, OSC's Intergalactic Medicine Show, Fantasy Magazine, Baen's Universe and more which are primarly or include epublications.

What you are saying would make sense if you limited yourself to the old style big names. I never have.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited February 27, 2008).]


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