June 18, 2015

Working Between Novels: Short Stories Keep the Brain Fresh

by Toni Leland

Writing "The End" to a 90,000-word novel is more than relief and celebration — there is a let-down too. After living with the characters and their dilemmas for anywhere from eight months to a year, an author can't help but find it hard to let go. Sure, once the story is done and published, the exhilaration lasts for several weeks. But then what?

Personally, I find it hard to plunge into another major project, even in a series. I need time to think about other things, but I also need to continue to write. The answer is short stories and freelance articles. These are short-term projects that keep the brain working like a finely-tuned machine and, interestingly enough, while the gray cells are focusing on the job at hand, they are also churning out deeper ideas for the next "big one."


A few years ago, I wrote several short stories for inclusion in women's magazines. One, in particular, was contracted immediately by a new romance publication; sadly, before the third issue could go to press, the magazine folded (underfunded and undersubscribed) and my story rights reverted back to me. I put it aside to await another opportunity. And forgot about it.


Cleaning up old files on the computer recently, I came across it. Read it. Still liked it. Did some fine-tuning and, as they say, the rest is history.


Second Chances debuted on Kindle this week and the process of setting the story free has recharged my batteries. I'm ready to begin work on the fifth book in my Kovak & Quaid series. Sometimes we authors just need a little break.



Second Chances, a romantic short story by Toni Leland