Last night I finished the draft of my first novel of the year.
That’s change mode number one. For the previous twelve-plus months I’ve been focusing on short stories so have mostly been writing in the 3000 to 10,000 word range.
Writing a sustained story that’s 60,000 words long takes a different kind of process. Glad I did Dean Wesley Smith’s Pacing Workshop (non-affiliate link!) over summer. That gave me a whole new way to approach a novel.
Change mode two: once I finished the novel I got started on a literary short story. Each year in New Zealand there are a couple of big literary contests and I make sure I enter both. One of them has a prize of $10,000 – seriously! I guess my chances are about 1/10,000, but that’s better than that Lotto thing and I still get to send off my story to other markets when it doesn’t win (one of last year’s entries has just been accepted for Takahe, a NZ literary magazine, yay).
So I went from the validation at the end of that sixty thousand word hard sci-fi novel to the opening of what will be a 3000 word piece focused on language and character more than action and wonder. I hope I can pull it off.
And, yes. I got started on the story as soon as I finished the novel. I saved the file called “pirates 25 2 2014” and created a new file called “the accident 25 2 2014” and began typing. Some writers apparently take a week off after finishing a novel. Nice for some, I guess. I want to capitalise on that momentum and carry on with writing. Anyway, I have a daily word count goal to hit.
Oh, that busy bee in the sunflower? Just last week in the garden. Summer is really giving us a scorcher for the moment. I know most of you are practically snowbound at the moment – I hope the pic gives you some cheer.
4 thoughts on “Changing Modes”
Wow not even 2 months in and a novel already, great work. Congrats on getting in Takahe too, that’s awesome.
Thanks for that. It’s good to have that momentum going already.
Congrats on finishing your *first* novel…don’t tell me you write more than one novel a year! A pacing workshop sounds like an excellent idea. I just finished editing my novel (a grueling experience for me with 105K), and couldn’t wait to dig into short story writing again, so I’m with you on the momentum.
Good luck with the contest. I would never not enter a contest because of the slim chances in winning – that just makes it that much better if and when you do.
Thanks Erin. And yes, I do plan to write more than one novel this year (though at 60000 words, mine are much shorter than yours).