Never Underestimate the Power of Readers
Late last night I had a burst of inspiration and two new characters showed up. This is a short story about two neighborhood friends with a past, who lose touch, and how they reconnect. I am pleased with direction this is taking so far. Short stories are tricky. How do you complete a story arch in roughly 20k words or less? For this story it's a stressful event that throws the characters into each other's arms and bed.
I have always had people living in my head and carrying on with their lives. All of my stories are movies in my head. I am an extremely visual person. I will play a scene over and over again until I get it as close to what works as I can. Fortunately, my writing process has matured over the years. I've learned that nothing I write will ever be perfect. I've accepted this as the way of things.
With short stories I subscribe to the French idea of leaving the table a little hungry. I avoid leaving a short story with a cliffhanger or worse a cliche. Readers are savvy and intelligent, they don't want to be disappointed at the end. Sounds simple enough, huh? It isn't. Write this down, Andi's rule: never underestimate your readers.
But what about my novel? And why am I not working on it?
I am working on it-- In the film screening room in my head. I haven't stalled out. A novel is like raising a child -- it takes time and lots of nurturing. In the meantime, I have got to get some other stuff out there for people to read. The blogging and networking are all great but, if I don't have any work to show for my efforts then my efforts are all for naught.
I get this question alot from my friends and family: How will you publish this stuff, Andi?
I am going to take advantage of DIY e-publishing. Not vanity publishing, which is a very different animal. I will be using smashwords there is no cost to the author and it's legitimate (with isbn numbers and all that important copyright stuff). I also avoid the insane wait time involved in traditional publishing. Besides a few short stories will not open doors in traditional publishing anyway.
This takes me back to my point about readers. Readers are the best advertising an author can have. Especially in a fringe genre like M/M romance.
I know from experience when I was writing online erotica and BDSM. My readers were my best marketers. This was fifteen years ago when a great deal of us wrote under obscure pen names and at private members only sites. We were so fringe sometimes it was difficult to find us unless readers brought our work to other readers.
Those early years in online writing have given me invaluable insight into what I am doing now. There are many more options for a new author in the changing market of publishing. The publishing market is seeing a paradigm shift akin to the music industry in the 1990's. This is an author's market that is breaking free of the big six monopoly.
And let me clarify that I am not against the big six. I just don't feel the need to be published in any traditional way to be validated. Validation comes from readers loving what I write. Why else would I be doing this? It's not for the money, though I'd like to make some.