A Short Stories’ “Sabbatical”?

I spent a good part of yesterday with new characters “Brad” and “Clémence,” as well as with a couple of “old timers,” and filling in additional details and description in several chapters. In the process, I dropped in a couple of thousand more words at least. I became so immersed in it all, I lost track of the time.

The afternoon flew by. As I finished up, I realized again just how unwilling I am to let go of “my friends” quite yet. I’m not “done” with them by any means.

I ended up again pondering what could follow immediately after Distances. I know there will be a fourth novel eventually, and I already know its very general contours. But I’m now pretty drained mentally from writing these first three, and I suspect I will need something of a “sabbatical” to recharge.

Free Stock Photo: A pile of antique books.
Free Stock Photo: A pile of antique books.

I had been mulling over the idea of taking “six months” post-Distances and declaring, “Eh, that’ll do for now.” It seemed reasonable. After all, three novels of nearly 100,000 words each over three years is nothing to sneeze at.

By comparison, my HarperCollins published uncle has written eight novels since the early 1980s. Uh, not that I’m comparing myself to him! Even if I am there, uh…. a little bit. 😉

However, it dawned on me as well that I can’t really honestly bring myself to stop writing for any length of time, so maybe as a “refresher” I should try something new? I’m thinking perhaps a collection of short stories that will include some of “my friends” from this novel series. Doing that would allow me to “grow” them further as characters and keep them “living,” and most importantly maintain the impetus and daily habit of writing – which is vital.

It might also be an intriguing experiment to expand on certain characters and introduce aspects of their lives away from focus of the novels, but which could also in a way serve as extensions of the novels. I’m not sure yet which of them I might use for the stories. I have to give the whole thing a lot more thought.

Passports (Part 1), Frontiers (Part 2), Distances (upcoming Part 3).
Passports (Part 1), Frontiers (Part 2), Distances (upcoming Part 3).

One thing you also learn when you write is, much as in life, you’re only “as good” as your current project. As it winds down, you find yourself growing increasingly terrified and thinking: “What will I do next?”

I don’t often outright “ask” you for opinions (but comments are always welcome even if not asked for, of course). Do you like short stories more than “long” novels? Is it perhaps worth my trying to write a collection of shorts for a next project?

I hope you’re having a good Tuesday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂


  1. I dunno. If you feel you want to explore some of your characters further, a collection of short stories would be very nice. Or you could write another book in a different genre altogether. Crime story? A fictionalized account of some case you studied for a while? 🙂

    Or, you could teach a college writing course. I guess you’ll know what you want.


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