Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Why "Too Short" is a Good Thing #IWSG

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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

I recently did a promotion for my Lovecraftian steampunk Western, Six Guns of Madness. It's gotten me a lot of reviews on Goodreads, mostly positive. But almost every review has said some variation of, "It was too short." While I guess some readers and writers would consider "too short" a negative, I consider it one of the best compliments I could have gotten.

Nobody has ever said, "Man, I hated that novel, it was awful. The characters were bland, the story was weak, and I was bored the whole time. I wish it was longer." To me, "too short" means "I wanted more." Which is the old axiom in show business, "always leave them wanting more." I'd rather have readers saying it was too short than that it went on too long.

I'm also not upset about the criticism because keeping Six Guns short was intentional on my part. I kept Six Guns under 15,000 words because of insecurity. When you say "Lovecraftian steampunk Western," you're not exactly looking at an overcrowded genre. It seemed so crazy that I didn't want to pour my energy into a full-fledged novel if no one wanted to read it in the first place. I had ideas and concepts that I wanted to expand on, but kept Six Guns short so I could write and release it quickly to gauge interest. I figured if people didn't like it, I only lost a couple of weeks of writing.

But I have taken the comments to heart. I originally imagined Six Guns as part of a series about gunfighters having strange sci-fi adventures in the Old West. Since there's interest, I'll be pushing ahead with the sequels. I may also expand the original Six Guns into a novel.
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