Writing: Sprinters and marathons

It’s been a long time since I sat down to write original pages for a book.  I was so far ahead for a while, my agent couldn’t keep up.  So I started writing novellas so that I’d have new things to post online.  Now, things have changed.  I have 5 books online, I’m getting feedback on them, and people are asking, “When will the second or third book be available?”

When I wrote the books, they were sort of an experiment to see which things readers liked most.  I wrote the novellas for short, quick fun.  Maybe not the best idea.  It suddenly occurred to me, I can’t possibly keep all of the series afloat.  It’s time to narrow my ambitions.  With that in mind, I created four gargoyles (one for each corner of a cathedral) in my Ally/Dante series, and when I found the right supernatural creature for the last gargoyle, I considered that series finished.  Next, I wrapped up the Death & Loralei series and thought long and hard about a novella to bring it to a happy, upbeat conclusion.  Two series down, three more to go.

Sigh.  Three more novella series is no easy feat.  And I enjoy writing all of them.  But I know I’m not being realistic.  I currently have three novel series to work on, too.  I’m not a fast writer.  True, I can build up word count faster when I work on novellas.  Not because the words flow more quickly, but because I can see a goal in sight, and I race toward it.  Often, I write more hours a day, push myself harder.  It’s a sprint to the finish, and then I can relax.  Working on a novel is more like a marathon.  I pace myself, think of scenes instead of the whole story, and inch toward the final battle one step at a time.  I don’t write as many hours a day so that my brain actually works when I sit in front of my computer the next morning, and the one after that, and the one…..  You get the idea.

It sort of surprises me that I didn’t think of how I meant to balance everything when I started so many books and novellas.  But I was experimenting.  Did readers like medieval stories with witches and Harpies?  It doesn’t seem like it.  They’re my worst selling stories, but they’re also one of my favorite to write.  Who knew I’d get hooked on Christian and Brina?  And then there’s Emerald Hills, where I finally learned how to write a little bit of romance.  If I pat myself too much on the back about that, one of my romance writer friends will put me in my place:)    It’s easy for me to stay humble.  That’s what my friends and family are for.  And then there’s Babet and Prosper.  My absolute favorites.  I can’t stop writing them.  I like them too much.  And that’s just the novellas.

Aargh.  There are only so many hours a day that my brain will work.  I can only write so much.  So heed my advice.  Think before you write.  How many stories do you have time to make into a series?  People get impatient.  If they like book one, they might buy book two, and if they like that, when will book three come out?

I like balance in my life.  I’m not so fond of juggling.  So think before you write.  Hit your computer keys responsibly.  For your sake and others’.


P.S.  If anyone has any questions or topics they’re interested in, I’d be happy to give them a go.  Just let me know.

8 thoughts on “Writing: Sprinters and marathons

  1. Good point, Judy. And though I haven’t tried a novella yet, I know that I tend to write at a sprint when the end of the tunnel is in sight. Here’s to us both picking up the pace on our marathons to keep our readers happy. Cheers!


  2. Oh you’ve touched a very sensistive button…I am too a short story, novella writer…I adore writing short fiction, but I also have a great idea for a novel….and I’ve started writing it but it’s taking me foreverrrrrr :((((


    1. Waiting gets tricky. It takes a while to write a book or novella. The reader can finish a book in a few days. It’s easy to take a few months to write one, and then longer to do rewrites. That’s why a lot of readers like to start a series at the beginning that’s already four or five books into the storyline. But somewhere, the writer gets behind. And then the reader, hopefully, likes his/her stuff enought to wait for the next installment.


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