Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Efficient Gambler

I've mentioned previously how the series I'm currently working on is complicated, evolving, and is not going the direction I originally intended. It has been a surprising process in some ways and the final book is proving to be no exception. I also think making the story arcs in the first book a fractal and then repeating that fractal across the larger series is probably confusing a lot of people who are used to a series being composed of novels (and not short stories mixed with novels). If I were to rewrite the first book, Fractal Standard Time, it would probably end up as a novel...although it would be difficult to duplicate the documentary-style aspect that comes from the short stories being chained together like in the current version.

That said, I think there is a lot of interesting dynamics that come into play when working on a series. I hope to explore those more in the next series, but I have two more short story collections I plan on releasing first. One collection will have a series of interlinked stories focusing on a single character and the other will be a collection of science fiction stories similar to the style of Corridors. I'm working on stories for both collections right now, in addition to working through the rough draft of Chronopticus Rising (Book III of the Chronopticus Chronicles).

Both collections contain stories that are experimental gambles. For me that is an important part of the overall writing process. Ultimately it leads to stronger novels because with short stories, you can quickly try out a new idea, character, setting, or story line with minimal investment in terms of time. I usually then cultivate and edit the better ideas, which may involve a dozen full edits per story.

Here's the other aspect of tinkering with short stories as a means of experimentation. It allows me to try out different structure ideas that could fail miserably if I tried them in a novel first. A novel is a considerable time investment and building multiple storylines on top of a structure that doesn't work can lead to a lot of problems and ultimately the abandonment of the story altogether. It's sort of like building a house on top of a foundation whose walls leak every time it rains. So I've found it best to try out unusual ideas in short form first because it saves time in the end...an efficient gamble, in other words.

We'll see where this goes...

No comments:

Post a Comment