They say that you should do something that terrifies you every so often to keep yourself on your toes.
For me, that meant saying yes when I began to be invited to participate in anthologies. I write epic fantasy, big fat dynastic sagas that easily run 600 pages. The idea of writing a complete story in under 30 pages seemed terrifying.
So I said yes.
And I found out that short was fun, too. At first, I told myself it was like a self-contained chapter, one that gave a complete scene. After all, chapters run 20 pages or less, so it was a do-able comparison. That helped me get up the nerve for that first anthology. Plus I was intrigued by the concept–pirates and magic–and I thought it would be fun.
I created a world for that first short story, and when I was invited to do more anthologies, I decided to return to that world. That got me into the third and fourth as well. Those were stories that ranged from the 1700s to the 1500s, so it was still very comfortable from an epic feel.
Then came the Magic anthology for Solaris, and they wanted something modern. I’d already gotten over my fear of switching from the third person narration I used in epic stories to the first-person of the short stories. Jumping into the modern era and the real world, in an identifiable city (Charleston, SC) was scary in itself. But I said yes, and took the leap.
Solaris liked the story. In fact, they liked it so much, they asked for a novel set in that world. Deadly Curiosities, my urban fantasy novel, will come out in 2014.
But that’s not all that came from taking the leap. Beginning in January of 2013, I made a commitment to bring out a new short story every month direct to eBook. Some of those are in the past and present of the Deadly Curiosities world. Some are prequels to my Chronicles of the Necromancer book, epics in short story format. I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with the form, and I’m having more fun than ever.
So the next time you get an offer to move outside your comfort zone, say yes! You never know what doors it could open.
Reign of Ash, book two in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga launches in April, 2014 from Orbit Books. My new urban fantasy, Deadly Curiosities, comes out in July, 2014 from Solaris Books. I bring out two series of ebook short stories with a new story every month for just .99 on Kindle, Kobo and Nook—check out the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures or the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.