My May Mulligan & Moving Forward

It’s now the final day of May, which will be the first month I have not released an eBook in 2013. I’m calling a May Mulligan.

I can’t feel too badly about it. Over the course of the month, I’ve written over 7,500 words on Broken Mirror, along with 1,500 words on “The Skull Game,” the second Belle Starr story. Over 9,000 words is my highest total word count for a month since I started this experiment. That’s despite being sick for a week where I wrote nothing.

Ironically, the month I’ve had the highest writing output is the one where I’m not going to release anything. So I can’t kick myself too hard.

It’s possible I could have finished “The Skull Game” and still published it today, but I have two problems with that plan. First, the story would have felt rushed, and wouldn’t have been the best version of that story I could produce. Which makes me feel icky.

Second, it’s sort of cheating on my promise to myself not to release anything the same month as Once Upon a Clockwork Tale. I mean, technically, yes, May 31 isn’t the same month as June 1. But having two releases literally a day apart isn’t consistent with the spirit of that intention.

There’s a “real life intruding on my fiction” reason that I didn’t get further on “The Skull Game” if you’re interested, but that’ll go on That Darn Kat, where all my personal life stuff goes. It’s nothing particularly melodramatic or interesting.

One positive thing has come from switching tracks from Broken Mirror to “The Skull Game.” I’ve gotten TSG completely plotted and outlined. In fact, I’ve done more pre-writing on TSG than any other story so far, including character sketches and some setting notes. It’s kind of a heist story, with a lot of moving parts, so I needed to make notes to keep track of who everyone was, where they were, and what they wanted because keeping it all in my head was getting cumbersome.

Like the original “Belle Starr,” it’s a self-contained story with a beginning, middle and end. But also like “Belle Starr,” it feels like part of a longer story. It’s very clearly the sequel, taking place a month or so later, and it builds on the original story a bit. I’d been thinking about doing a serialized novel for a while now, but didn’t really have a good idea for it. In plotting “The Skull Game,” I think I’ve realized that Belle Starr would make a great serial, in the tradition of the old space adventure serial movies that inspired Star Wars. Each story is a self-contained tale, but they’ll build up like Legos into a bigger story. I’m anticipating maybe 5-6 episodes total, but it’s too early to know for sure.

I’ll probably submit it to the Kindle Serials program. Alternately, I’ll just publish the episodes individually, and bundled as an omnibus.

Which of course, means now I have to plot the rest of it. :rolleyes

This brings up another interesting thing I’ve learned from this experiment so far. The most consistent feedback I get in reviews and conversations is “it was great, I just wish it were longer.” My stories tend to be longish for short stories, in the 6,000-8,000 word range. This was true even years ago when I was writing short stories in my creative writing classes in high school and college. “It’s good, it just really feels like it could easily be a novel.”

The only story where someone has complained that it was too long is the one where I deliberately set out to write something that would only work as a short story.

So apparently, I don’t really write short stories so much as I write extremely fast-paced novels that fit in the word count of a short story. 😉   Except for flash fiction, which I love.

This might mean that I need to step up my production rate. It might mean that I back off my “publish every month” goal. I’m not sure. I’ve already learned a lot from this experiment, but if learning doesn’t occasionally make you change what you’re doing, then you have to wonder how practical the lessons are, know what I mean?

Thanks as always for riding along.

Experienced web wordslinger. Noob steampunk novelist. Stumbling Christ-follower. Bluegrass Hoosier.