First things first. I want to say “thank you” - all the words of congratulations were much appreciated. In all honesty, after the financial surprise from this deal fades, the greatest feeling is thinking you’re getting somewhere with your writing, and all your kind words have helped to make that feeling linger. In a solitary trade like writing, that support is indispensable.
So thanks to the following: Sally, Jane, ET, Annie, The Murph (I know who you are!), Nicky, Chris, Roger, Aliya, Dave Budd, Mel J, some anon commentators and others who haven’t commented here but have sent me messages of congratulations. So before this turns into an acception speech, thanks again to anyone not mentioned above!
You see, it couldn’t have happened at a better time.
The first draft of The Burning Sands of Time is done, but it needs a lot of work. I’d love to crack on with it now, but it’s not the right time. I have an inkling The Secret War will become a big part of my life over the coming months, and in the day-job we’re a man down so it’s getting busier there too. I’d like to be in a position where I am re-drafting the new book as a full-time job. I’d like that very much. But I’ll have to make do working through the 2nd draft in my spare time again, and to do that properly, I need minimum distractions. So I guess it will be about March next year when I start on it again.
A long time yes, but then it was two years between the 2nd and 3rd drafts of The Secret War and that worked out well!
But I’m still a writer. And a writer who writes. So I’m going to crack on in the interim with my Necrodyssey series of short stories. I’ll get a few done before Christmas, ready for next January and then write the rest over the first half of next year. My goal – if I can sustain it – is to publish 12 stories on my website that will make up Necrodyssey. It doesn’t sound too hard now, but it could be a stretch later on, hence the reason to get half the stories written before March and the next draft of Burning Sands...
As “the storm” looms closer I’ll write a more detailed blog entry on Necrodyssey in the coming weeks.
It struck me as I commuted to work last week with a copy of Rough Cut by Gary McMahon under my arm, that the novella is perhaps the best story format for a commuter who takes only 15 minutes to get to work on the bus. As I’ve said in previous blog entries, finding the time to read is hard (though admittedly I am reading much more of late - outside of that commuting period), and sometimes sitting on a bus with the latest China Mieville or Robert Jordan is daunting – I mean, how many journeys will it take to complete this monster novel?
The novella, and I mean a story that’s around 50 to 100 pages long, is much better suited for the short-distance commuter, but like the short-story before it, the days of the novella are very much setting. Only the independent press appears to carry a torch for it - Rough Cut for example is published by Pendragon Press - and trying to find a novella in say Waterstones or Blackwells isn’t the easiest task.
And from the problems of supply, comes the problem of “reputation”. What novellas should I buy? Some novellas cost the same as full-length novels, and do you really want to be forking out six quid for a novella you’ve never heard of or from a writer that has never been mentioned before?
So my question is this…
Are there any sites that promote novellas objectively, reviewing them as part of that measure, and can anyone list five great novellas that a relative novella novice should invest their time in (excluding any novellas by Stephen King, HP Lovecraft or Clive Barker)?
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!