Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Writing Short

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

After I started selling novels, I stopped writing short fiction, for two main reasons. First, I was better at novels. And second, the short stuff took me way too long to write. It didn’t seem like it was worth the investment of time.

But in this year of “trying new stuff” and “writing faster” I wanted to try writing short again, so I plotted a story. To make it easy on myself I set it in The Nanotech Succession story world and used a minor character from my novel The Bohr Maker as the protagonist–but the story is independent of the book and takes place some years before.

Psyching myself up, I figured “4,000 words–how hard could that be?” I knew the story would likely be much longer than that, but 4,000 words sounded so un-intimidating.

(Do other writers play these head games? I have no idea.)

And then I applied the “Write the first draft fast” approach. Four days later I had a 7,500 word story which I dumped raw onto my local writing group the day before we were due to meet. They were very good natured about it. Several more days went into revision, the story turned into a short novelette of 8,900 words, and now it’s ready to go to market.

Naturally I hope it sells, but after all these years of no short stories, simply having written it feels like a win.