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Short Stories, or Novels?

My resolution to write a short-story per month in 2017 is still on track. I’ve got four short stories under my belt already. And that kind of productivity is starting to cause problems.

First, my critique group is getting overloaded. When I was pumping out stories less than 5000 words (the submission limit for my group) I was submitting every other week. Last month (March 2017), my story clocked in at 6200+ words. That meant I had to break it into two parts in order to sumbit it to my group. There was no way to cut 1200 words from it. Well this month (April) my story finished in around 5200+ words. Perhaps I’ll be able to trim this down, but even if I do, it will mean three straight submissions to my group in a row. If I can’t trim it, that will mean submitting four times in a row. My group will get sick of seeing my stories ALL THE TIME.

Second, I’m starting to get backed up with submissions to the market. Many have very short turnarounds (3-6 days) but they have rules in place where people can only submit every 7 to 14 days. My latest submission to F&SF, got refused (not rejected.) I couldn’t even submit. They have a two-week waiting period, but is still rejecting my submission, even though its error message says I submitted . . . 14 days ago. The logic on the submission site must be broken. Go figure.

Third, with all of this emphasis on getting short fiction written, I’m moving the edits on my second novel “The Nine-Finger Revolution” to the back burner. I pulled up the manuscript yesterday and discovered that I hadn’t touched it in three months–back in January! I don’t think this is wise. Short stories are not going to pay the bills like novels can.

These issues were never a problem before, as I’d only write a new story every quarter or so. Something for the Writers of the Future contest.

So, my question is this–dump the goal, or keep with it for another eight months? I have to admit, having five short stories out on the market at the same time feels good. How good would it feel to have twelve? Also, more stories means more submissions, which increases the odds that one of them will find a home and bring in some money. Mike Resnick, who passed on March’s story, responded with a personal comment that read, “You’re improving each time out.” I have to believe that my increased productivity is the cause. And, I’d like to see if I could meet the goal or not. A third of the goal is done . . .

On a side note, my story up on Galaxy’s Edge, Issue Twenty-Five called “My Monster Can Beat Up Your Monster” will only be on the home page for another 5 days. After that, it will only be availabe on the archive page.

– Brennan Harvey

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