Tag Archives: short stories

Would You Rather – Short Stories vs. Novels

Hey everyone!

As I’ve started to focus again on finishing Burning Skies and have set The Orc War Campaigns aside for the moment, it’s brought up the question that I’ve asked myself on more than one occasion: which do I prefer writing?  Short stories or novels?

star-trek-tos-movie-novels1When I first started writing, I was all about novels.  My dream was to write Star Trek novels, but when I discovered I had to be well-known to be asked to write Trek, I started focusing on my own stories.  And I started the first novel of what was then called Star Dragon Legion.

I know I’ve mentioned it on my blog before, but that first novel was lost to a computer virus before I knew well enough to backup my files.  Instead of starting the novel over, I decided I wanted to flesh out the characters more, and I knew I needed practice.

stdragonIn 1999, my first series of short stories began, with the fan fiction Star Trek Dragon.  Simultaneously, I began writing occasional short stories set in the Star Dragon Legion universe.  The goal was to focus on improving my writing and getting near-immediate feedback on experiments in my writing style.

I know I’ve given this history before, so I won’t bore you all with a retelling ;)  But I honestly don’t remember a whole lot about my experiences writing those first couple novels.  And additional attempts at writing novels back then fell flat on their face.  I hadn’t found a method that worked for me…yet.

Complexity and Expanse

With each passing season of Star Trek Dragon, I started to turn it more towards a serial story.  I even began planning out each season in a method very similar to what I now do for planning out novels (click here to read more about that :) )

I found that I liked that format more, a long-arching story with multiple chapters, multiple story threads all converging into one at the end.  Not to mention that, without even planning to, stories I wrote throughout the entire series all came together in the final season, and everything became connected.

And that’s just it, with novels I can spend more time on characters, flesh them out more, spend time expanding on the plot threads, and interweaving them all.  A single novel can be much more complex than a single short story.

But then…in a way, isn’t a novel just a bunch of short stories interconnected?  Chapters in a novel, episodes in a series of short stories…

So then the question remains, which do I prefer?

Going Back to Short Stories

digital-cover-1As I’ve written The Orc War Campaigns, which has been my return to the short story realm, I find that I am on the fence about which I prefer.  I didn’t spend nearly as much time developing TOWC as I do on novels, and that may be skewing my experience with it.

But at the same time, especially once I stopped including Cardin and the characters from the novels in it, I was able to really start fleshing out Amaya, Zerek, and Arkad more.  And that has been fun.  Imagine if I could spend time writing 20 or so episodes, we could really get to know the characters!

Release Schedule is the Killer

As a self-published author, in reality I only need to publish stories as often as I choose.  I don’t have a publisher giving me deadlines.  Never-the-less, I do have fans that want stories, and I do not want to disappoint them.  Not to mention people will lose interest if I don’t publish stories regularly.

So even as an independently published author, I have deadlines.  And writing The Orc War Campaigns has been fun, but the release schedule was exhausting.

And this is where I find I prefer writing novels.  For the remainder of The Sword of Dragons, I’m essentially giving myself a one year release schedule – every year, I release a new novel.  One year to focus on a single story.  Granted a longer, more complex story, but that time spent on one story I think shines through.

(On that note, I do intend to put The Orc War Campaigns through the same rigorous post-writing process once all of the stories are written.  The final product, to be published as an anthology, will probably be much more refined than the free, online versions :) )

So there you have it, my friends.  I love writing, and reading, novels more than short stories.  I enjoy both, but that is my preference.  What about all of you?  Which do you prefer?  Why?

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik

Good News and Bad News – Exciting New Direction!

Hi everyone!

I’ll come right out and say it: the release of Burning Skies, book 2 of The Sword of Dragons, has been delayed.  Originally slated for a Fall 2015 release (October was my goal), the release will now be delayed until a likely Spring 2016 release.

This is unfortunately due to funding issues. The manuscript itself is completed, formatted, and ready to go!  And it pains me to have to delay its release.  I’ve so looked forward to getting the next chapter in this saga out to all of you, especially after the purely positive feedback I’ve received from everyone who has read The Sword of Dragons.

But unfortunately my recent, unexpected relocation cost too much, and I no longer have the funds to pay the cover artist, Christian Michael, at this time.  I will recover and be able to afford the cover in due time, but I am still pulling myself back up from the move.

A Brand New Story on the Horizon

I didn’t want to bring you all only bad news, so I came prepared with some exciting news!  As I’ve been hip-deep in development for book 3, I came up with the idea of creating a series of short stories to bridge book’s 2 and 3, to lead up to the events of book 3.

Today, I thought “Why not do the same for book’s 1 and 2?”  And immediately, countless story ideas came to mind!  :D  Well, okay, I needed some prodding from a friend.

masterharper-of-pernInitially my idea was to have the series cover only the major characters and major events.  But then my friend (you all know him from my interview, Wayne Adams from VtW Productions!) started telling me how much he loved stories that covered characters, organizations, and events outside of the main story, such as the novels that feature the Harpers from Dragonriders of Pern.

That was when I started coming up with ideas.  A way to flesh out more of the universe of The Sword of Dragons, to see more of the characters and places that were only glimpsed in the novel.

Kate from A Knight's Tale
Kate from A Knight’s Tale, another great blacksmith!

For instance, what about Veral Adas, famed blacksmith of Daruun?  After all, if there is a renewed campaign against the orcs, weapons and armor will be needed, right?  What of other guilds, beyond just the Warriors and the Wizards?

And what about the orcs?  I’ve thought about possibly developing them more, so that would be an interesting challenge to develop their society more.

Of course, I’m not one to write a story just for the sake of the story itself.  I love when stories intertwine amongst each other, so this isn’t going to be a quick and easy “write this story, write that story, there we go, there’s content.”

The series will require its own development cycle.  Certainly shorter than my usual cycle for novels, otherwise it’ll take me forever to get the series out.

This is still a very fresh, new idea, so I’m not even 100% sure what direction I want to take the stories in.  But I want to give you all something to hold you over until book 2’s release, and I want that something to be truly meaningful.

So tell your friends, tell your family, the Sword of Dragons universe is about to get a whole lot bigger :D

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik