This new short story is coming a lot slower than the novel that preceded it, but I’m not worried.
I’ve learned how to take my time with a story and give it room to breathe and grow to the length it needs. It’s not a creative thing as much as a confidence thing, I think.
I know I’m a better storyteller now than I was back when I started—and that’s just a matter of reading enough, writing enough and developing an understanding of how dialogue and description interact in getting the story told. I think I’ve always had imaginative ideas—it’s just that now I’ve developed the tools to be able to do them justice.
And I’ve always written what I want to write and then looked for someone to send it to. Chasing trends is difficult given the lag time, for what might be a trend when you start writing a novel can easily have blown itself out by the time you get yours in front of a publisher. A novel can take years from inception through writing, submitting, acceptance, editing, more editing and then, eventually publishing. Anticipating a trend that far in advance is something publishers try to do — but as a writer I think it’s counter productive.
And most often, where this all leads me is into the pulpier side of storytelling.
Pulp is seen as second class by far too many people. People hear ‘pulp’ and think ‘shoddy’, whereas I hear ‘pulp’ and think ‘adventure.’ Storytelling for the sake of storytelling is often lightly dismissed as ‘just entertainment’ — but not everything has to have deep psychological insight. Sometimes all you need to be satisfied is people in peril, and a bad guy to beat up. And there’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion.
My most successful and probably most commercial work is The Invasion. It reached #3 in Kindle SF and #4 in Kindle horror, so covers both genres, and is the tale of a strange green snow that starts to fall during a winter storm—snow that quickly starts to spread—and multiply—and mutate. It’s a B-movie on paper, and a homage to many of the things I love—alien invasion, slimy horror, apocalyptic disasters, and normal working folks in peril. It’s pulp, through and through, and over 20,000 people have bought it. That tells me there’s more people like me out there.
They’re the ones I’m writing this stuff for.
Onward and upward.