My short story “The Age of Erring” would not behave.
I had ordered it to be a short story, but it tried to become a novel. I wrote at least 50 pages with no end in sight until I realized that the story was mushrooming out of my control. To contain the explosion, I reduced it to about ten pages. In the end I was happy with it, but it took me so long to write that it delayed publication of my new story collection by almost two months.
The collection, which I released last week, is The Age of Erring and Other Tales.
My new collection represents a lot of experimenting. Its stories vary widely from one another in voice, style, genre, and content – a commercial no-no in traditional publishing, which prizes uniformity and editorial consistency.
My book features androids in need of therapy, a mysterious world-wide writer disappearance, a planet whose moon is falling, a flight on an aircraft that never stops for fuel, a parable about planets that dream they are people, and a creation tale that traces the history of a single individual back to the Big Bang.
Of all my anthologies, I worked the hardest on this one. That is because I was unsatisfied with some of the stories I had published on my blog. To publish them in a book, I extensively edited many of my old stories, even rewriting some of them, while also supplying additional content.
As excited as I am about releasing my third collection, I will have to set my story-writing aside for a while because the attempted mutiny by my story “The Age of Erring” made me realize that I want to write novels again. Fortunately my stories have given me many concepts to novelize.
I like novels. While short stories allow for reckless experimentation and conceptual diversity, novels allow more depth. They allow for an intricacy and a mimicry of real life that is hard to achieve in a short narrative.
I have written three novels already, my first being Thief of Hades which I self-published in 2001.
My second, soon to be released, is The Ghosts of Chimera, a psychological fantasy adventure about an adolescent boy who ventures into a parallel universe in search of the ghost of his younger brother.
Though I am scaling back my short story writing for now, I am not about to stop writing them altogether. They allow an exhilarating sense of creative freedom that I love. In The Age of Erring and Other Tales, I made the most of it. I hope my stories convey the fascination and fun I experienced in writing them.
By the way, I have included a video in this post in which I talk about my new collection and where I get my story ideas. I will be making more videos, but mainly I will be working on my fourth novel.
It will be nice not to have to wrestle with my new novel the way I did with my short story “The Age of Erring.” I have told my current work-in-progress that it can be as long as it pleases, and it made contented Wookie vocalizations to signify approval. I was glad. When writing, it is always good to have a Wookie on your side.