Wednesday 27 March 2013

Writing at Novella Length: Advice Wanted

I've got a real craving to write a novella. I want to stretch myself. So I'm looking for advice. Here's what I know:

Novellas are longer than short stories, by definition. Let's say short stories are anything up to 7.5 thousand words and novellas are 17.5-40 thousand.

One thing I've learnt about writing is there aren't any hard and fast rules. And that's the way I like it. But in general you can say that novellas:

Have more plot elements.
May incorporate subplots
Might spend longer on character description and setting.
Can incorporate multiple points of view.

And from a personal point of view: can't be written without planning. (I know, I've tried).

That's about it. My plan is to read a couple of Susan Hill's novellas with a writers eye, making notes about the plot-line and pacing.

Now, what else do I need to know? Do you the three act structure for planning, or other planning structures (with short stores, I just wing it)  Do you write at this length? What else should I be thinking about?

Thursday 21 March 2013

New Poem up at Eternal Haunted Summer

Somebody told me it was National Read a poem day. May I humbly suggest 'Utterly Pure' up at Eternal Haunted Summer.

This was inspired, as many of my works are by a chance encouter with Wiki. Wikipedia rules! Did I mention I've been doing a little Wiki editing, by the way.

This Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons image is from the user Chris 73 and is freely available at // under the creative commons cc-by-sa 3.0 license.

Friday 15 March 2013

Writers, How Do you Know you're Improving?

This question/worry fascinates me.

The classic answer is: First I got form  rejections for my subs, then a few comments, then really complimentary personal rejections and then I started to sell.

Hmmm. A nice linear progression that. But I've always sold (lucky old me) and got a few complimentary rejection letters.

I suppose if you're improving you'll make more sales, but as time's gone on I've started subbing more and more to professional press. So that doesn't help much. If I chart the number of sales they're much of a muchness over the last few years. (2010= 7 pro sales, 2011= 4 pro sales 2012 = 7 pro sales) And I'm happy with those numbers. I know that I couldn't have worked much harder.

Maybe I've plateaued? How can I tell? Maybe *le gasp* I'm getting worse.

So how do you tell if you're getting better?

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Reprint Sale to Toasted Cake Podcast

I've just sold another reprint to the podcast venue Toasted Cake. A Nature story this time, 'Aunty Merkel.(Toasted Cake is closed until August at the moment).

I'd love to sell a few more stories to the podcasters. Who is your favourite podcaster? I know about Pseudopod, Escape Pod and Podcastle.

Are there any other podcast venues that you'd recommend?

Saturday 9 March 2013

Spam Comments

At first they just e-mailed me, telling me how much they enjoyed my post and adding a link to their site. Now the spammers are posting on my blog.

It's very annoying. Although its nice that they're enjoying my posts so much.

Of course I can delete them, but I wondered if there was another way of preventing spam. Any tips?

May 2013. Edited. Thanks for the advice. I've left my blog readers with the ability to post anon, but I've activated comment moderation after 7 days. This is catching most of my blog spam.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Do You Google Your Name?

I just read a comment by an author who said that she never googled her name.

This is not the case with me. I google my own name, and my pen name, oh I don't know, whenever I'm bored and remember to.  Every few weeks.

It's fun. Sure you might encounter a reader who didn't love your work, but on the other hand you might encounter a reader who did.

Today, for instance, I found out that GoodReads reviews short stories published free on the internet. And that someone had been engaged enough by my Nature story to post a rating. And that I have a GoodReads fan. Now that's fun.

I've googled my name and found meh reviews of my works.

But a good way of thinking about it is that once the work is published it belongs to the reader, explained here by Jay Lake.

What about you, reader? Do you admit to googling your name? There's no shame! Do you seek out response to your stories, or would you rather not know?