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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Writer's Brave New World

Today's world of e-publishing gives writers a chance to publish all forms of fiction and a place to publish them. The number of publications before e-publishing that accepted short stories and short novels were few and far between. Now, there's a place for almost anything a writer wants to do. To my way of thinking, this is a tremendous improvement over the pre-e-publishing world. Until recently, there was little point in writing short stories, because so few magazines wanted them, and the few who did want them were extremely selective. Your story had to fit their orientation. Today, your short story can fit your orientation, and possibly a lot of readers' orientations as well.

RaShelle Workman wrote a post on her blog Rashelle Workman "the-novelette-and-novella-rule" about the advantages of writing novelettes and novellas. Basically, they're short (novelette 7.5k-17.5k words, novella 17.5k-40k words). Like novels, they have a plot arch or character arch, but they are fast-paced, with little back story and few or no subplots. And, according to her, characters should be drawn vividly.

Recently, I've turned primarily to writing short stories. I hope to write about forty to fifty of them this year, and self-publish them in several e-books. There's always the possibility that one or two of these stories will turn into novelettes or novellas. I'm open to any possibility. I'm no longer tied to the old model of querying literary agents, who query publishers, and then publish as a novel or possibly a collection of short stories if you're a NY Times bestselling novelist. I write what I want to write and self-publish it in the best format possible.

I know several other writers who are writing and self-publishing short novels as e-books. I've seen single short stories self-published as stand alone e-books. It's a new world of publishing. You have the choice of following the old model or the new or some blend of the two. The key is to write as much as you can and put it out there, and to do it as professionally as possible. We no longer have to wait and follow a tortuously slow publishing process.

To me, this is the writer's Brave New World.
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