My 2024 Plans: Switching to Novel Writing

by Feb 19, 2024Updates, Writing Journey

A very belated happy 2024, readers!

I haven’t been up to much except working on my Innocent series of novellas and getting more freelance work in the door. But I wanted to write this post, first, to update you guys, but also because of a problem I’ve been wrestling with for a while now: whether to continue writing shorter work or switch my focus to novels.

I really wish I had the bandwidth to write both, but I know attempting to juggle the two is a terrible idea. Instead, after I publish the last novella in the Innocent series, I plan to focus on writing novels.

Innocent as a series is technically a novel, itself, and the novella I wrote before it, The Crow Prince, is 40K words. It could have easily passed the 50K word mark if I hadn’t decided to make a different novel version of it down the road. For the longest time, I’ve struggled to finish even an 8K short story. I was shocked when I wrote 21K words in Dark Lord’s Conquest.

But my work has been naturally getting longer and longer and nearly all of my favorite story ideas have been languishing for literal decades, waiting for me to develop the skill to write novels. I’ve felt the urge to write longer, more extensive stories for a while and since I’m about to publish what’s essentially the third part of a novel, I think I’m finally ready to make the switch.

Why Novels?

There are so many things I like about short stories: the variety, the satisfaction of finishing a project quickly, how fast you can learn new skills because you get to practice them more frequently… But there are even more reasons I want to make the switch to novels.

  1. Most of my fondest ideas are novel ideas: This is the main reason I’m switching to novels. It was always the plan because the reason I write is to express the ideas in my head. And most of my favorite ideas require the space of a novel to tell the way I want them told.
  2. I get to explore more deeply: This refers to characters, setting, and the overall plot. I’m often tempted in short stories to dive deeper into a certain pair of characters’ dynamic with each other or to flesh out some aspect of the setting my story takes place in, but I have to reel myself in because this is supposed to be a short story or novella.
  3. I can focus less on sex: Okay, before you swear off my books for good, let me say that I love the dark erotic, and at this moment, I have no intention of writing anything else. It and the dark romantic are the twin souls of my muse. But with certain stories that call to me (like The Crow Prince), sometimes I have no good reason to add a sex scene for some time, but because I’m writing erotica, I have to think of reasons to add more sex. When I write novels, they’ll be dark fantasy or dark paranormal fiction first and foremost—not erotica. That’ll give me a little more breathing room to tell the stories I want to tell.
  4. I want to challenge myself: I’m very aware of how low the bar is when it comes to erotica and I’ve honestly felt like I’ve stagnated in terms of craft as a result of writing it. To an extent, I think the positive feedback has been really good for me, but I suspect having beta readers or even critique partners will bring out my flaws more.
  5. I want to make the most of my strengths: I’m a slow, thoughtful, meticulous writer who enjoys good writing craft and complex characters. While I think adding this to erotica helps me stand out, it’s not what most readers of the genre care about, and these traits are mostly weaknesses, leading to very slow output when I should be publishing 1-2 erotic shorts a week. With novels, I think I’ll find more readers who appreciate things like good writing craft and deep characters.
  6. I want to maximize my earning potential: There are two major components to this. One is that my novels won’t really be erotica. They’ll be dark fantasy or something else and as such, not subject to the same level of scrutiny. That means I can publish them on Amazon and other major retailers with a lower risk of getting banned. But also, after doing the math and calculating that my most novel-like work was also my most successful, I’m inclined to think what people have been saying forever: novels sell better.

My (Tentative) Plans

So here’s my plan: After I finish edits on Innocent Part 3, my designated writing time will go toward my debut novel. I’d like to keep growing my Ream following by publishing erotic flash fiction twice a month and eventually bundling those shorter pieces into ebooks. I still have a few traditional-length erotica stories lying around that I’d like to finish someday, so I might work on those between novel drafts.

But you guys know me: This might all change two days from now. More likely than not, though, I will end up graduating to novels sooner rather than later. I’m super excited to share these stories!