Writing My Novel: Posting Fiction Online and Other Projects

Writing Notebook 2 As I round the final bend of the race that is finishing the first draft of my novel (~70,000 words and counting), I find that I want to branch out a little creatively.  I have a lot of ideas, and one of the foremost is putting various short stories online for my readers to help (potentially) build a platform on which I can sell my super-awesome novel when it’s ready.  Another is write a novella and post it serially on my blog, eventually turning it into an ebook.

Unfortunately, there are two camps on the matter: those who say that posting fiction online will hurt the author in the long run.  And those who believe that it will help.

I can honestly see both sides of the argument.

I know that with the preliminary work on my novel wrapping up, I am going to be hankerin’ for some fiction writing.  Luckily, my plan for the summer is right on track.  I should finish the first draft of my novel and get it to my initial alpha readers by the end of June.  That gives the majority of July and August to work on new, original short fiction that I can begin editing and revising for submission by the time the fall semester rolls around.

Since the blogathon will be long since over, my Slayage presentation will be behind me, and my novel will be drafted, I’m going to have a great deal of writing time vacant.  And I am a creature of habit, so those 2,000+ words a day will have to be filled by writing something.

On One Hand

On one hand, I love the idea of having a fiction blog.  Or a serial running across this one.  Posting a chapter at a time of a novella sounds like a wonderful exercise, and it would eventually give me something to condense and make into a full-fledged product, much like Syp posting his NaNo Novel.

I like the idea of posting a serial here, because that would mean being able to keep a regular schedule for installments instead of feeling I wasn’t updating often enough.  What I don’t like is not being able to take that work and developing it into something I could eventually try to sell through at agent, though I would only do shorts specifically written for this media or a novella developed for the blog.  And we all know novellas aren’t best sellas.  Yes, I’m aware how bad that was.

On The Other Hand

I could take the time that would be put into editing and writing a novella and put it into writing a second novel already.  Or writing short stories (in addition to the ones I intend to pound out over the summer) to submit to paying markets.  I think there’s a real argument here in that I need those publication credentials more than I need an experimental-media novella if I were to seriously pursue fiction as a career.

And Then There’s the Third Hand…

Where I think I might be too much of a creature of habit.  Where I think that maybe getting myself in the routine of getting up in the morning and working on X-Project until Y-Quota is met or it is Z-Time has made it so that I am too rigid in my creative outlets.

What’s to say that I cannot do all of the above?  Why can’t I write this short story and prep that one for publication while I work on getting a second novel together and churn out regular installments of an experimental novella?  Why can’t I bounce between projects?

The quick answer: I can.  And I probably will.

I don’t know a single professional writer who works on a single project to the exclusion of all others.  That’s a trick (crutch?) used only by those of us still learning the ropes.

But I have to remember that the First Novel is not finished yet, and once that goal has been reached by rounding out the last 25-30k words, I can really think about other projects.  And it’s obvious I have a few options to choose from.

What sounds more appealing to you as readers? Would you prefer my “experimental” project to be blog-only short fiction or a serial novella?