Big Stories vs Small Stories

February 17, 2018

I'm getting close to finishing a project that has morphed from a novella set in the same world as Drawchilde (my 200k epic fantasy novel that is complete, but not yet out) into a fairly chunky novel all in its own right. A few years ago, I shifted my focus to shorter works, hoping to build my world and readership faster by getting a selection of slender books out into the world. This has worked and was a good move, as projects on the scale of Drawchilde are the labor of years or even decades rather than months. Towards the end of the year last year I even had plans to go shorter, and publish a series of Kindle stories that would try to emulate the pace and feel of a TV series. This was going to be set in the world of Bydaira, in a place called Serpent's Crook.

And right about the time I made that decision, I started finding it hard to get my words in. Finally I gave up, pivoted in a totally unexpected direction, and wrote a mystery novel. (Since obviously what I need most as an author is a whole new genre to experiment with.) Then I took a brief break for the holidays, and now I'm back in the world of Drawchilde, which is the work and world closest to my heart in many respects. And I'm loving it. In turning Iavan and the Deodin into full-blown novel, I'm finding I have more room to play, space to delve into characters, time to digress into backstory.

The thing about the novellas that makes them a challenge is they have to be tight, tight, tight. Every scene has to move the story with the fewest words possible. You can write them fast. But for me, at least, they require a lot more planning, cutting, and distilling. They are well worth writing. I learn from them and they're fun in their own way. But I have to be in the right frame of mind to take them on.

So at the moment I'm 85,000 words into this story that was supposed to be about 30,000 total. I might still have another 30,000 to go before all is said and done.

After that, though, shorter is going to happen sooner or later. I still have six more Bydaria novellas I need to write.

1000 Words a Day in 2017

December 29, 2017

I'm not totally sure how much I usually write in any given year. Until quite recently, I never kept track of total output. I'm not sure what gave me the idea, but a year ago in November I started filling in a spreadsheet with each day's word count. At some point this year I decided it would be neat to finish the year with a daily average of 1000 words a day. So here's how that ended up looking.

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My output is pretty consistent when I'm writing. But you can see the chunks when I'm not focused on output, but rather on editing or publishing. My biggest day was just a tad shy of 5k.

So, all in all, I'm satisfied with the year. I always feel like I could/should write more. I have so many projects and they never seem to move quickly enough. Still, now that I know how many words I wrote in 2017, I can use that to inform by goals for 2018.

To Nanofinity and Beyond

December 09, 2016

This year, for the first time in over a decade, I participated in NaNoWriMo. It's a large event in the writing community, and the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. My hope was to finish my new standalone fantasy novel, Well of Trades. While I did win NaNoWriMo with a final word count of 57,000 words, I had more work to do. My novel was plenty long enough, but it wasn't done:

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I had intended for this novel to be short and sweet and wrap up at about 70,000 words. But that was not to be. I knew from my outline when I finished NaNo that I had 13,000 words or so still to go. My husband's birthday is in the first week of December. He's my first reader, and was excited to have a brand new story to kick off his new year. So I made that my new goal, which was actually far more of push than NaNoWriMo itself. I used this nifty little website called Pacemaker to give myself a motivation chart, and cranked out 3-4k words a day, finishing with a whole day to spare:

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So that's done, and it feels good. But since I've been on a crazy writing binge, I figure I might as well keep it up. With my Brinlin series all finished and launched, I'm ready to start the third trilogy in my Bydaira project. I've begun Wyl Maze (working title) a few days ago, and I'm hoping to finish it by the time we kick off our holiday travels on the 18th. Here's what that will have to look like:

I'm off to a decent start, anyway!

Website Refresh

October 04, 2016

I'm excited to announce robinstephen.com has just received a little face lift. This was done in preparation for the upcoming release of the Brinlin Isle, the first book in my new trilogy.

Featured on my new home page, you will see a snippet of a map of Bydaira. Bydara is the world of the Tessili books, where the Brinlin series will take place as well. The full map will be included in Brinlin Isle, as well as a map of Cynnes Tarth, the island where Marim ends up after leaving Masidon.

These maps also give a little glimpse of what's to come. The complete works of Bydaria (when they are finished), will include in total four slim trilogies like those already out, and one rather more epic trilogy.

It's a big world, with a very big story that's just beginning to unfold. I'm excited to see this second installment reaching readers. Thanks for joining me for the exploration!

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Current Projects

Akkeda Sunrise

A novella of Bydaira

5,000 of 32,000 words

The Panther's Girl

Realm of Five: Book II

200,000 of 200,000 words

Vaquera's Haven

A Stefani Wilder Novel

100,000 of 90,000 words

Iavan and the Deodin

Realm of Five: Book 0

105,000 of 100,000 words

The Lego Hacker

Jillian Diehl, PI, Book I

80,000 of 80,000 words

Heir of Iron

standalone novel

draft complete at 130,000

Well of Trades (working title)

standalone novel

draft complete at 92,000 words

The Burdened Boy

Realm of Five: Book I

draft complete at 200,000 words