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  1. Teladan

    Teladan On the outside looking in. Contributor

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    Two Paths (Considering Time)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Teladan, Aug 18, 2020.

    Hello again. This comes dangerously close to another thread I made concerning writing more than two stories at once. But I think it's distinct enough. The question: is it 'better' to work on one larger work, novel or novella, or make a name through shorts?

    I wrote personally for about 15 years, but I've finally started writing shorts with the express purpose of sending them to magazines. It's all fairly new to me, but very worthwhile as I've received some feedback from these publications. In this route or path, call it A, I want to at least break out of the personal writing bubble. Shorts are obviously much easier to do this than longer forms. Path B, novels and novellas, is much more personal to me. I've attempted a few novellas over the years, but none were ever completed. I have a story idea which, to be frank, I want to write before I die. Ever the 'death acceptance' reflector, that's the reason I'm wondering if I should spend my time on shorts or a novella. I just don't exactly know what is better in the long term. I know this is all subjective, but just wondering if anyone has had similar thoughts. Essentially, should I focus on shorts to make a name for myself or work on a bigger personal project which probably might end up rubbish and never be seen apart from the two people for which it'll be intended? Or, sanity not included, should I just attempt both? The problem is that I see both as almost equal in value.

    And I'm aware some of you are capable of writing whole novels in a few months!

    Edit: Lastly, I think that I should start the novella project as, as I say, it will probably require revisions for years to come until I get it right, so why not start now and just work on shorts intermittently? I may have answered my own question.

    Edit: A crucial thing I forgot. I don't usually like doing two separate projects at once, hence the desire to allocate time more efficiently.

    Thanks for reading.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    I like the ambition, but that's a lot easier said than done. I mean, you can write all the shorts you want, but making a name for yourself isn't a paint by numbers thing. Lots of things have to go right for that to happen... I'd just write what you feel and see what happens after that.
     
  3. Teladan

    Teladan On the outside looking in. Contributor

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    I think I described this incorrectly. When I say, "Make a name for myself," I just mean get one story published, at least. Just something to break out of the personal writing bubble I've been in for so long. I have more chance of publishing one thing if I continue to write shorts as they obviously take less time and are easier to refine. It's just that I can't see myself working on a large project and at the same time writing shorts. For people who are capable of writing novels in months and doing multiple things at once, this is probably quite easy, but I view it like reading two fiction books at the same, which I never do. It's that feeling of diluting one work in favour of another or stretching creative powers too thinly. In simpler terms, I'd want to stick with the novella because it's new, shiny and important as opposed to writing a short in a completely different 'world' or refining an old one. I guess if I want to do them both, which I do, I just need to accept that I'll have to work on both of these things at once. However, I started a mindmap for my novella last night and already I can feel the lack of interest in refining a short story or making a new one. Maybe I'll feel differently later on and the shorts will become something like a break from the novella.

    Obviously these aren't real or concrete problems. I'm just discussing them here to get my thoughts down, in a way, and for the intellectual process of it.
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Ahh... gotcha. You can definitely produce more shorts than novels if you write at X rate for Y time, but then you also need to produce Z ideas at N quality, with N being of publishable value.

    So long as you're writing consistently you will improve. I'd focus on the work first and distill the reward after.
     
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  5. Aceldama

    Aceldama Senior Member

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    Honeslty I think you're doing it for the wrong reason. If I was writing things that would only be for someone to publish etc. Id burn out quickly. I write for sheer enjoyment. I have ideas I want to explore and 'paint the canvas.' That's it.

    Id never cater to a publishing house or journal. Even if that means ill never be published.
     
  6. Teladan

    Teladan On the outside looking in. Contributor

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    I'm 26. I've written for myself since I was a child. 99.99% of my writing has been personal. So, not sure you can say I'm doing it for the wrong reason. I find that perplexing to be honest. Most writers want to be published at some point--are they wrong? And who said I was pandering to anyone? You've taken what I said made it sound as if I want fame and glory and couldn't care less about personal integrity. How is it wrong to want to publish a story? All I ever indicated was that I wanted to try and use my time effectively and that, having written for myself for almost all of my life, I finally want to get at least one thing published.
     
  7. Aceldama

    Aceldama Senior Member

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    I say always right for yourself. Send stuff in and if it happends great if not oh well.
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Everything I write is with the intent that someone will publish it. Of course, that doesn't always happen, but I do have a little career going on (for what you say) are all the wrong reasons. I completely cater to journals, magazines and publishers. I know what sells because I read these things. I want to write things like the things I read. I want to be part of the literary discussion. This does mean understanding and some catering to industry standards and expectations. This is an important part of being a professional writer. This is not limiting. It's emergence of sorts. I've worked very hard for every crumb of success I've had. And I do consider myself an artist. There has been no compromising in what I can and will write. There are only expectations of quality and writing for a specific publication is a good thing. It means you know what you're doing, and you probably have a better chance. You can't shame some one for high expectations, especially if they know the steps to get there. Those wrong reasons you have are the right steps, IMO.
     
  9. Aceldama

    Aceldama Senior Member

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    I consider it selling out. I should be able to get published with what i like to write and the stories that mean something to me or i don't want to be published. Just how I see it.
     
  10. Teladan

    Teladan On the outside looking in. Contributor

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    Are you trying to be provocative on purpose? Since when it is a sin to want to be published and to understand the market, etc? I'm not published and probably won't be for a while, but to me it sounds as if you consider all forms of public writing as selling out... Well, it is in that one needs to eat and have shelter. But then of course a lot of publications don't give financial rewards at all. All Deadrats said was that he has tried hard to get to the place he is now. I can't pretend to know everything about publishing because I have spent almost all of my time writing for myself and my friends, but I honestly can't see your argument. Think of the thousands upon thousands of books from history. Was Dostoevsky selling out when he made money? Writers far better than you, me and anyone else on this forum have written for money and for the public.

    "I should be able to get published with what I like to write". This is what most people do. In your world it sounds like you can only publish a work of fiction or non-fiction unless it's been mashed up and skewered by some inarticulate suit who doesn't care in the least about personal vision.

    This isn't even what this thread was supposed to be about. To repeat, all I asked about was whether it might be better to continue focusing on shorts or start a novella. I wanted to be effective with my time and was just considering the pros and cons. In your world I'm a sinner because I want to see my name in a magazine. But this is only to know that what I've written is worthwhile and that it'll be available for others to enjoy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2020
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  11. Aceldama

    Aceldama Senior Member

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    Nope. Just my perspective.

    And it depends on how big an idea you have. If you have a big idea put it in a novella. If you have bursts of smaller visions write shorts. Just do what you want?
     
  12. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    @Teladan - You are only 26 years old, and unless there is something about your life that I'm not aware of—like a shortened life span due to illness—you have another 50+ years ahead of you, if all goes well. That is plenty of time to write quite a few novels and scads of short stories. So I would say write whatever you're in the mood to write now, finish it, then write something else.

    Whether you choose to publish it yourself, or seek traditional publishing is another phase entirely. And both shorts and longer works can be equally rewarding. So ...try both? But not both at the same time, if you find that hard to do.

    You have apparently finished some of your shorts and had good feedback on them, while you have never finished a longer one. Do you have any idea why that's the case? Do you run out of ideas for your longer stories? Do you get distracted by new ideas for more stories? Is there a place in your longer stories where you always get stuck or run out of steam, and give up?

    If I would you, I'd spend less time wondering about which story form is going to get you noticed (or wondering if getting noticed is a good thing at all) and start analyzing your own writing patterns. See if you can understand why you don't seem to be able to finish your longer stories. Perhaps you're one of those people who just doesn't think in terms of long stories, and prefers the short story form. Nothing at all wrong with that.

    I'm the opposite. I can ONLY think in longer stories. I can't get excited at all about writing short stories. I'm happy to work on the long ones.:)
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2020
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  13. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    End of the day people write for different reasons, and they are all equally valid - writing to market doesn't make you a sell out, equally not writing for profit doesnt make your work less valid... success means different things to different people.
     
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  14. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    (raises hand, jumps up and down)

    I'll sell out! Tell me what to write and where to send it!
     
  15. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber Contributor Contributor

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    lol same.
     
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  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    joking aside i tried writing to market once after reading the chris fox book of that name... my attempt to write a steamy romance was not a success (athough it did spawn a trilogy of relatively steamy thrillers)
     
  17. Teladan

    Teladan On the outside looking in. Contributor

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    Thanks for the input, everyone. In the end, I only wanted to discuss these different options and I think I probably made things sound worse than they really are. Perhaps I have a habit of writing in a negative tone? I was essentially saying that whilst I could do both forms of writing, I considered that focusing on a longer work, it will take longer to break out of the bubble I've already been in for most of my life. (I'm not complaining about that, by the way--it was my choice.) As I say, I've written hundreds upon hundreds of pages for myself over quite a few years, but only this year have I decided to send anything--short stories--to publishers. That was then eclipsed by a newer idea: another novella attempt. It was just the idea of the new novella, something like my third attempt at one, that made me reflect on how such a project could lessen my chances of publishing shorts since that's what I was supposed to be doing this year. I thought maybe the novella would take away from my short stories; it probably will in some ways but that's fine. It doesn't matter in the end as I've decided to do both as both seem important.

    Anyway, there's no real issue. I'm not going to suddenly drop down dead. I just have a habit of posting and reflecting. I live in my own head so much I thought it might be useful to get some feedback even on a non-issue! It has.
     

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