Having finally published my debut novel I’m looking forward to following it up with my second one. However, I now know how much work goes into a novel and am also aware that it could take up to a year before my second one is ready to publish. I realise that it would be easier to promote my first novel if I had more fiction books to accompany it and I have therefore found a short-term solution.
A while back I was rummaging through my filing cabinet and going through some of the work that I had done for my writing course many years ago. It’s been so long since I finished the course that I had forgotten exactly what work I had completed. Each module would cover a different type of writing so, for example, there would be modules on writing articles for women’s magazines, trade magazines, short stories for women’s magazines, radio plays, theatre plays etc. Often writers would be required to produce outlines of short stories or articles, sometimes it would be part of a story and at other times it would be a full story.
I had kept all my course notes in my filing cabinet but was surprised that I had also kept outlines for numerous short stories, plays etc. Basically, my brain works like that. If I am studying a module on short stories my brain switches to short story mode and keeps spontaneously coming up with ideas. I jot down the ideas as they come to me and then file them away. I still do this now except they’re usually scenes for novels, which I will develop in the future, and nowadays I type them up on the computer.
Seeing the outlines for so many short stories had me really fired up. I started to wade through my course notes to see if there was anything else I could use. I knew I had lost a lot of work when the computer crashed years ago but didn’t realise that I still had seven short stories fully written. Amazingly, these weren’t just in note form, they were also still on the computer. Another longer story was in my course notes and just needed typing up onto the computer. Then there was a story with the first 700 words written as part of a writing course exercise, which just needed completing. That meant I had a total of nine stories that could easily be used for a book with the addition of one other, which I could choose from the many outline ideas I had kept.
So, that’s my next project sorted – a book of ten short stories, which I should be able to publish in the New Year once I have edited and completed them. The stories are a bit of an assortment. It would have been ideal if they were all crime related so that they sat comfortably alongside the novel. However, as they’re already written for the main part, I prefer to go with what I’ve got rather than writing a book of stories from scratch. That way I can start work on my second novel a lot quicker. I won’t rule out writing another short story book in the future though.
Out of the ten stories, three of them are crime related. Then there are family/relationship dilemmas, a few twist in the tale types and a bit of poignancy. I’m looking forward to finishing my short story book as my next step in the direction of fiction writing. And of course I can’t wait to continue the work on my second novel.