Some of you might have noticed the sudden release of a bunch of shorts within the last few months, often within the existing worlds (A Thousand Li, the System Apocalypse) that I’ve created.

I’m not going to discuss the business side of this (expect that in a Wednesday business post); but I wanted to talk about why I wrote them and the craft side of it.

Why Write Shorts?

Shorts (in this case, I’m talking of short stories, novellas, novelletes, anything below <40k words) are a different form of expression than full novels.

On a craft basis, they require you to focus in on your plot and characters, keeping them constrained to a specific time period. A good short can trigger questions, can explore new worlds and sketch our characters that live and breathe just as well as any novel.

They force you to write more concisely, force you to focus on plot and pacing. And, in my case, allow me to explore some different writing styles and genres. In many cases, when I’m done with a short, I can look back at it and realise what mistakes I made and why it didn’t work as well – which then translates over to better novels.

Exploring aspects of a world (a series, etc) that you’ve not had a chance to explore with your main characters is another reason for my shorts. It’s why the SA shorts are all in different cities, different individuals than John. Because it’s such an expansive universe, and John’s so focused that there’s more to tell.

Sometimes though, the reason I wrote a short is because I got a brainworm of an idea that I wanted to explore. Daily Jobs, Coffee and an Awfully Big Adventure is such one (that started out with a chat with Dawn Chapman about wanting a coffee fairy) and that took over a day’s worth of writing.

Other times, I write them for an anthology. The other System Apocalypse shorts and the A Thousand Li: Favored Son shorts were written because I was attempting to enter short story anthologies.

Anyway, that’s why I end up writing shorts myself. It’s an interesting skill set to build upon and a way to explore things that I can’t in full novels.

Why the Sudden Releases?

Laziness. Or, laziness before. Many of these shorts were written over the last year and a half. I’d meant to space out releases a little more, but then Covid hit and I dumped additional work for a while. I threw them up on the Payhip store and then forgot about them for a bit till recently.

Now that I’ve cleared my mind a little, I figured I’d release them wide and see what happens. I’m grateful for everyone who has bought them or read them via my Patreon.

But I Don’t Read Shorts!

Then don’t. 🙂

Seriously, nothing in any of my shorts will ever effect the main plotlines. They are written to give a glimpse to different worlds, different areas of the series and things that happen but don’t necessarily impact the main storyline.