Do you really want to write a novel, or just a short story? In the past, you had no choice. However, today writers make self-publishing harder than it needs to be. Here’s a Kindle publishing secret: if you want to write fiction, start with short stories.
Your first novel always has problems. That doesn’t mean that you’re not a good writer, and you should forget about it. It means that you’re learning. And when you’re learning, you include lots of stuff in your stories, short or long, which isn’t needed.
In Write A Novel: You Must Start It, and End It, I said:
I’ve been working with a group of new novelists, and each one has a complete novel. Sort of. I say “sort of” because their novels are buried amongst a lot of stuff which isn’t needed.
Each student’s novel is like a little treasure chest, buried in a pond. It’s up to the novelist to haul up the treasure chest, refurbish it, and polish up the jewels within.
Of course, these new novelists have lots of reasons they need the pond, but your readers aren’t interested in a pond. They want the treasure.
I started writing short stories in my teens. Eventually, I got some published. By that time, I knew how a story worked. So when I decided it was time to do-or-die, and publish novels, I got a contract very quickly.
Novels Are Complicated, With Lots of Parts to Them
Most new novelists write novels which are all backstory. Eventually, the story starts. I’m not a fan of backstory. Your readers are smart. They’ll figure out the backstory as they go. I’m a huge fan of Elmore Leonard, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I remember, he rarely if ever includes backstory. It’s never needed.
Writing short stories teaches you above all, to tell the story, and junk the backstory. So, if you want to self-publish, go short. Write short stories. Then you can write novels.
If You Can Write, You Can Publish
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