I realised I hadn’t written a catch-up post for a while. As you can probably see from the entries below, the last few weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Finishing the third book, sending it off to copyedit, launching ‘Samiha’s Song’, organising the ‘strong women’ blog series, various hiccups and bumps offline, in that thing called real life… then the inevitable crash, the moment when all the noise dies down, the party stops and everything falls apart.
I did not realise just how hard I’d been working for the past 20 months, until I stopped. I’m not complaining: working hard is gravy. Lack of working hard would be a problem. But there is wisdom in the adage, ‘live to fight another day’… and a balance to be maintained there, somewhere. So they say.
Of course, nutcases like me don’t actually take time off. That would be unheard of. But I did feel the need to try something different, something other than door-stopping epic fantasy. I didn’t wish to jump straight into another series all at once.
Like an answer to my prayer, the invite to participate in the ‘Tales for Canterbury’ anthology arrived in my inbox at just about that time, giving me a perfect excuse to start exploring a form I’ve woefully neglected: the short story.
Now, TFC is for a worthy cause, raising charity for those affected by the Christchurch earthquake. But the writing process was just like any other project. An outline, a deadline, the bottom line: at the end of the day, would the story be good enough?
Except that it was more fun than all that. It was falling in love with a new form, experimenting with a new voice. What a joy! Suddenly, ideas were arriving, first drafts were written, stories were completed and edits were being done – all in a week. One week! A story a week? Ye gods, I thought, I could get used to this. Instead of cranking out 150K manuscripts in blood, sweat and tears over the course of eight months, I could finish a project or two in a fortnight. I could write a dud story and waste no more than a week on it. I could write another, and another, until I got it right.
I have to tell you, I’m hooked. Whatever else I do, there will now always be a short story-writing, parallel universe Mary, scribbling away on the side. It’s my holiday. It’s chocolate and balloons. It’s… sheer fun.