Back to it

After a long and unexpected hiatus on the short story front, I'm pleased and relieved to be working on some new material. It was down to a combination of factors, but mainly burnout, I think. After producing forty short stories in four years I think the short story well just dried up, and I figured it was best just to walk away from it for a while, let it refill, even though at times it seemed to be refilling at a very slow trickle, if at all. I was never too worried during the drought, though. I mean, it wasn't exactly writer's block--I was still working on my novels (one all but finished, one awaiting editing, one being written now), and writing other bits and pieces--so I didn't get myself all depressed and tearing my shirt in frustration or anything. In fact it was a nice break from the (self-imposed) pressure to keep coming up with new short story ideas. It also helped to have a clutch of about eight completed stories in the out tray (which are still being subbed hither and thither as I write).

Now, though, I'm hopefully entering a new phase of short story writing. The involuntary hiatus has given me time to sit down and think about stuff I really want to write, about issues that are burning inside me, and about ideas that truly excite me. I've been reading, too, reading the kind of stuff that makes me kick myself and say "Damn, I wish I'd written that!" Things like that often spur me on to come up with something as good or better. This never happens, of course, but as the old saying goes, if you aim for the moon...

So, first up is a piece of weird fiction inspired by a children's book called 'Angus Rides the Goods Train'. The concept for my story actually came to me as I was reading the book to my kids! No definitive title as yet, but the prospect of writing it is so exciting I don't care about that. A title will come, no doubt, somewhere along the way.

After that, there's 'The Spiders of Suburbia' which is an idea I've been mulling over for a very long time, just waiting for that central key scene which helped kick it into life. There's more to come, and it's all very exciting. And, of course, those novels...


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