Frequently Asked Question: 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?
Hi, everyone. Here’s this month’s question from the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
The short answer is that, for me, the story chooses its own shape and length. Now, sometimes I discover that I’ve gone down the wrong path. An idea that I thought would make a novel becomes a novella or a short story. Maybe that’s because I didn’t think it through far enough, but maybe that’s all it was ever meant to be from the start. In a few cases, I did a specific format and story line, but that was almost always for an anthology project and not my typical style.
One example was my Regency novella, Clytie’s Caller. I had the nugget of the story, and I knew what things I wanted to happen. However, it wasn’t enough to carry a full-length novel, even though it made a complete story cycle in a shorter form.
I’ve had the opposite experience as well, though. My debut novel, In The Eye of The Beholder, started out as a short story for my own amusement. However, the characters refused to be quiet, and I eventually had a full-length tale (and publishers in the UK and US).
The bottom line is that each author’s process is unique to them. Whether you decide in advance to write a steampunk novelette, or a full-length space opera just pops out of your pen, that’s okay. Do what works best for you.