One of the variety of podcasts on writing I have been thoroughly enjoying is the Creative Penn Podcast, hosted by Joanna Penn, indie author and creative entrepreneur. It is a wealth of good advice and information, and I recommend it to anyone interested in writing. I typically listen in the car, which has the significant downside of making it hard to pause, stop, or take notes; something I regularly find myself wanting to do.
A recent episode (episode number 354) was an interview with Douglas Smith on making money writing short fiction. While the making money part was certainly of interest, the episode covered a range of topics applicable to short and long fiction and was an excellent listen. It also got me thinking.
I wrote in my last post about setting the goal of writing a novel manuscript over the course of this year. While this is certainly my end goal, I have been wondering, since listening to the Creative Penn, whether I should start the year by writing some shorter pieces of fiction.
Almost all my writing over the last five years has been game related. Some technical writing, working on rule sets such as Halo Fleet Battles or Dystopian Wars Fleet Action. Some short fiction, working on the background stories for the Proteus Prime and Return of the Overseers games for Spartan Games, and a whole lot of background or setting material for the Infinity Role Playing Game.
While there has been some fiction in there it has been vastly dwarfed by the other types of writing. Coming back to writing fiction again is somewhat daunting, even though that’s where I began. I am thinking of writing a couple of pieces of short fiction to kick things off and get back into the feeling of writing fiction again. It should let me experiment a little and play around, without me worrying that I am ruining or struggling to manage what ‘should be’ my novel. I’ll go through the plotting process I am thinking of using for my novels too, and this will let me get a feel for what works for me and what doesn’t. What skills and thought processes I need to build up, and where I feel comfortable.
I am thinking of this as ‘walking before I attempt to run’. The end goal is the run, of course, but the walking will hopefully help me sort through my processes a little before I make the larger attempt.