This month’s IWSG newsletter poses a very long question. The end of it was:
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?
Since I’ve been thinking mostly about short stories recently, I’ll answer it, but first… blaming my writing tools.
My main writing tool is my desk
You may remember the saga of my desk. I won’t detail it, because I’m trying to put the whole upsetting and stressful affair behind me. Suffice it to say, my desk arrived in my new home in pieces, and I certainly couldn’t put it back together myself. Next day: lockdown.
When I mentioned this before, I had some very helpful ideas, thank you for your support. But setting the computer up on the dining room table wasn’t an option, for several reasons, all to do with downsizing and two of the five rooms I’d downsized into (counting the kitchen) were full of boxes or only just habitable. The rest… had to wait for the plasterer and other people.
So I spent late March through to early July with my computer sitting on a shelf of the built-in wardrobe. It was a nice shelf, just the right height for me to be able to stand and type. I did lots of posts, and in April I did the final edit of Princelings 10. But oh, my feet, hips and knees! And it was almost impossible to attach it to the printer/scanner, which caused several problems with documentation related to moving.
I got so upset by the whole ‘they’ve ruined my desk’ issue, that I realised it was becoming a ‘thing’ for me. I took the bull by the horns once the plasterer had finished, and cleared enough space to lay out the desk. It was always going to be tight – I bought it for a much larger room. I decided to buy a new desk!
No longer blaming my writing tools
The desk arrived a couple of weeks later, the guy put it together in five minutes, and gave me a hint on solving the problem of the other disassembled bit, now warped. That worked too.
And suddenly, I was working again!
Admittedly, my burst of enthusiasm for writing short stories petered out pretty quickly, but I got a couple of shorts done for the blog, started on an idea for the IWSG Anthology (closes 2nd September), and caught up with some other writing projects.
It is just wonderful, having a nice desk, that fits in my room!
Has the piece become the form?
One of the things I had on my list was to put together a collection of my short stories. As the Bristol Flash Fiction Festival had to be postponed to next year, I now have till next Easter to put something together.
Once upon a time I started a catalogue of stories and publications. Do you think I could find it? I spent several days at my stand-up computer, checking through all the hidey-holes the computer puts things, as well as every flash drive I had. Once I’d unpacked the desk drawer contents into the new desk, I tried again, still with no luck, so I went through all my web posts of flash fiction, to list them all. There are also a few that haven’t seen the light of day on the blog I must remember to add.
I finished that list last weekend. Over 250 short stories. I was on a roll between 2013 and 2016. It surprised me how good some of them seem including some of those I had previously dismissed. Thank you if you commented on them at the time, those words are very useful.
Most of them are from prompts involving random titles or genre-mashups. At least, I think the most successful are.
I wonder whether they may be slightly predictable. As you know if you read them, I have a habit of a sting in the tale’s tail. There’s also a fairly large number I’d class as horror, which is a genre I don’t read because it’s too scary!
So having started to write short stories as something to put on my blog, I suspect that for me, yes, short stories are actually the form I most want to write, now that my Princelings series has finished. I still have a book to finish for the Viridian Series, and I realise I have two standalone projects I’ve been thinking of for years.
The question is: am I out of the inspiration needed for flash fiction? Maybe I just need a break. It has been a stressful three years, after all.
Progress on my books
As well as working on the illustrations for Princelings 10 (just one new one done!), I’ve been checking on progress for my audiobooks. Princelings of the East has been a good earner for me during lockdown, so I hope the sequels will be worthwhile, too (especially as I think they are better.
Princelings and the Pirates is now uploaded to Audible, so hopefully it’ll be live before Christmas. That’s a bit mean as they say ‘expect 30 days at least’ but there have been some horror stories about their QA process, so I’m not holding my breath.
Princelings and the Lost City is now ready to go to my wonderful narrator, who’s been having technical trouble of his own during the lockdown. Hopefully we’re all ready to go, though.
And hopefully you’re all ready to go, too.
If you’d be interested in hosting a cover reveal or launch post for Princelings 10 – Princelings Revolution, out in October, please leave a comment to that effect below.
That’s it for this month
Have a good month, write a short story for the WEP+IWSG August competition, theme ‘Long Shadow’, and I’ll see you next month.
As always I’d like to thank Alex J Cavanaugh from the bottom of my heart for the inspiration for this group, and thank the co-hosts, too. Please visit them: