I Aten’t Ded … Again

The first thing you need to know is I’m alive. I know that might not seem particularly relevant, but last week’s fiction was written a couple weeks earlier, and by the time it went live here, I’d already woke up feeling rather poor. When I got in to see a doc on … Thursday? It was in time to find out I’d developed bronchitis, and I should get a chest x-ray, “just in case.” Well, case happened, and I got a phone call that even letting me know I’d also contracted pneumonia. “Just a small spot in the middle of your right lung,” not that I could really tell. Kinda ouchy, actually. Fortunately, good meds are good, and I can breathe again.

On the down side, I haven’t gotten any work done since last Monday, and I’m still exhausted. Also, Mrs. Dave and the little have also managed to get one brand or another of ill, so we’ve temporary changed the sign out front from Caer Pascoe to Plague House, Keep Away. Still, Wee and Wee-er Dave are both back at school, and while Mrs. Dave is banned from work for her respiratory crud (“Don’t bring that in here: the office is too small for that much cough!”), we’re all feeling much better. More hale. Which is nice.

So, I’m alive, and distinctly on the mend, buuuuut … most of my energy is still going toward healing, and I’m short on the brain-juice. But enough about me! Let’s talk about writing. Let me fill you in on the project upon which I’m working. My long term goal is producing a novel a month, roughly. Now, these aren’t going to be the goat-gaggers Amanda mentioned this morning. Instead, I’m planning a couple of genuine pulp series. Why, you ask? Because that seems to be what readers want. Oh, most readers would love if our favorite and most prolific writers were producing full-on, trad-length hardcovers every month, but I don’t know anybody who thinks that’s anything even close to resembling possible. If nothing else, the entire tradpub structure mitigates agin’ such a thing.

Whereas us indies are lithe and nimble enough to make it happen. A short novel a month written to a formula is entirely possible. I, myself, have written 50k words in two weeks in the past. I know Sarah has done similar any number of times, and we both know folks who’ve accomplished something along those line. Now, a 50-60k word short novel in a pulp setting, to a pulp formula is possible, but will it bring in readers? That … honestly, that one is very much a wait and see situation. Still, I figure that’s where craft comes in. If I do my part, I expect readers will show.

Doing my part is that upon which I am working right now. I’m using Lester Dent’s Master Fiction Plot as a starting point, and expanding it for my own use in guiding those short novels. Also, because I’m not sure I can write short stories upon demand, and there’s a better market for short novels in ebooks. My hope (still working on the realization of it) is using a fiction master formula, I’ll be able to plug and play plot specifics and streamline the writing process. Is it going to work? I don’t know, but it’s driving the enthusiasm right now, and that’s awfully handy.

And like I said: that’s a long-term goal. And realistically, I’d like to do four to six of these pulp short novels each year, split between one or two different series (I have two that seem like they’ll fit well) and three or four more traditional (recently traditional) length novels in other series, just to keep those other worlds at bay. I don’t know if this is going to work, but as I said, the idea is exciting, and that enthusiasm drives a lot of actual work. What’s firing your interest?


  1. I’m getting enthusiastic just reading about your plans. As I’ve gotten older, with only small amounts of time to devote to reading, shorter works have become increasingly attractive. I’d love to try the plug and play method myself, but for now I will follow your story and see how things work out for you.

  2. Well, I was ambushed by parts of two Familiars stories this past weekend, so I think there will be another volume in that series. Shikari five is coming into the home-stretch and really does need at least a working title. Something else Shikari is sort-of nibbling at me, but I’m not certain if it will go anywhere. After that… I’m not entirely certain. It’s been suggested that the next Merchant book wants to be the start of a new sub-series, but I’m not sure I’m up to the research required. And there are other ideas flitting around.

    I agree on writing shorter with more frequent releases. That really seems to keep sales up. The 65K-80K range feels like my sweet spot, with stories that are long enough to give readers a good length for their money, but not feel padded. And we can produce more per year, barring crappy or even just-distracting Life Rolls.

  3. If you are doing Kindle Unlimited is it better to do multiple shorter works or the same number of words in a longer one?

    With Amazon’s pricing rules for book sales do shorter or longer works pay the most per word?

  4. At the moment, staring at a passage and wondering what the characters are doing so I can revise it to make that clear. . . .

  5. Recently I am enamored by ‘competence porn’ of the sci-fi military variety. A juicy series in that sub genre would be delightful.

  6. I devoured Doc Savage and the Shadow reprints when I was much younger. Bring on the Pulp!

    I’m currently finishing up a six pack of half written short stories to package into a collection . . .

    Wait . . . tomorrow’s the third Friday? Eep! I’d better find some enthusiasm for blogging (not to mention a subject) for MGC before tomorrow!

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