You may or may not remember that back in…oooh April I believe it was (?) I took part in something called Script Frenzy (which is now a defunct *sadface*) and I talked about changing it up, how trying to write other types of things, like screenplays, can help your novel writing.
Maybe you’ve given that a try by now and decided, “Eh…not for me.” So be it, but have you tried playing with the length of your work? Have you taken it in and tried writing a short? Maybe Flash Fiction and shorts are all you write. How about letting it out and writing something novella or novel length? (See what I did there? Tailoring reference? Letting out..takin– ooh nevermind).
One of the perks to giving short or flash fiction a try is that there are tons of websites and i-zines that are looking to publish shorter pieces of work. While it won’t make you millions, it can give you publishing cred. Author Jon Gibbs suggested to us at the writing workshop to check out sites like Everyday Fiction. They post a new 1000 words or less piece of fiction everyday (surprise surprise!). If you get chosen, your work gets published on the site and you get paid! It’s possible that you can get two publishing credits if they then choose your piece for their yearly anthology. Yay! Again, it won’t really help you pay the bills, but it’s another good way to get your name out there. Besides sites and magazines, there are also smaller presses who are looking for work to put into anthologies. Your 50,000k+ novel won’t fit that bill.
Another reason to try the shorter route is because it helps you to make your writing more concise. When you have a specific word limit, you really have to think about the words you choose to use and if you actually need them. It helps you to re-write sentences without all those extra words that are just fluff.
Also, you may find that you come to love the characters in your short so much that you want to tell their whole story. If that’s the case, the short is a great introduction to either give away or sell cheap to get people interested in the characters and want to continue to read about them.
If shorts are all you’re doing, working at something longer will help with your plot and character development. Obviously, the more time you have, the more your characters can evolve and grow. Longer pieces are good exercises in learning to keep it interesting (no sagging middles!) and to keep your reader turning those pages.
Regardless of which way you go, changing up the length of your work can have good results for your writing on the whole.
Have you tried your hand at writing something different from your usual?