Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Shelving Emerald City Hunter, Starting Novellas

Indie writing is a great experiment. The old formulas are being remixed in new electronic test tubes. The new media and models of distribution via ebook are changing reader habits, which are changing the industry.

As a new writer, I have taken lots of risks. My horror novella, Make Willing the Prey became the prequel to my urban fantasy novel, Emerald City Dreamer. This is the sort of shenanigan that is simply not done in the publishing world, and there are good reasons for that. I was aware of the risks when I made that choice. Hey, I've got a long life. Might as well waste it in style.

According to tradition, the next step is to write a trilogy or series matching the pace and format of Emerald City Dreamer. And that was my plan, the plan I've spent the last few months (okay, year) following. I have a draft of Dreams by Streetlight Book 2, Emerald City Hunter, and have invested many, many hours in editing it.

Plans change.

Emerald City Hunter, as written, takes place eighteen months after Emerald City Dreamer. A lot has happened in that time, and the characters begin ECH after huge changes. Changes I haven't written about. Changes I gloss over and sum up. As with ECD, it follows four point-of-view characters with a complex interweaving plots.

Frankly, it tries to do too much.

Too many stories in my Dreams by Streetlight world demand to be told, and sometimes I try to tell them all in a single project. Emerald City Hunter can't tell all of them.

This is a difficult decision, because it is a huge risk. Writing and publishing is a slow occupation, and I will not see the results of my decisions for years to come. Yet here it is: I will pause Emerald City Hunter. Instead, I will write a few novellas that take place during that eighteen month gap. They will be single-POV with simple plots told across 10-15 scenes.

There will probably be three novellas.

The first will be an adventure plot, featuring Sandy, doing what she does best: Fighting the fae. She will have a single antagonist, and will work closely with her friends and allies to that end. She will also begin her healing process. My working title is, Emerald City Iron.

Jett may need a novella all to herself, since she has grand designs that need to be begun properly. And the third will be another monster hunting story, either from Jina or Sandy's POV.

Novellas are an order of magnitude simpler, which I hope will speed up the release cycle, and let me do tiny projects (like short stories) in between. It also gives me space to really focus on the characters that you've come to love, rather than speeding past them like I tend to do in the fast-paced novels. I can cover a few of the background story elements I tried to cram into Emerald City Hunter, to make room for everything else.

Most importantly, I think this may bring back some of the "fun" to my writing process. Sandy needs a couple of monster-hunting romps, don't you think?

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