The Way of the Word

5. July 2010

Workblog: The Mad Pulper Project

his is basically the fault of Danny Bowman and Kristine Kathryn Rush. I won’t say what Kristine contributed, but Danny, who published pulp novellas, said in an interview that the decreasing attention span of readers makes this the perfect time for shorter fiction.

Mate, in this day and age where most people have the attention span of a retard with sunburn I believe that short, punchy and unpretentious novels are the way to go, trust me.

This put an idea into my head. 12 months. 12 novellas, each between 25K and 30K in length. 12 different genres. Go in, tell the story with no punches pulled, go out. I would write them, package them and self-publish them as cheap entertainment for the Kindle.

Wait, I hear you cry, isn’t Jens totally opposed to self-publishing? Isn’t this hypocritical?

Yes I am, and no it’s not. Writers don’t need to self-publish, and if you need to self-publish you’re not a writer. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m a complete failure and a total loser.

Maybe it’s just a manic phase of my depression, but right now I find it liberating. Because if I weren’t coming to terms with it, I wouldn’t even think of doing this. And it occurs to me that, unless the idea were submitted by a writer of, say Stephen King’s or John Grisham’s standing, no publisher would take a chance on this kind of experiment.

12 novellas of up to 30,000 words. I’ve already noted down the ideas. None of them are new ideas, they’ve lurked in my files for years. Some of them even almost made it to publication. They cover everything from fantasy to horror to action/adventure to spy fiction.

12 ideas. 12 short novels. 12 months.

Now, there are problems that need to be resolved. One is that I’m not exactly a fast writer. But I can work around that by working ahead. If I’m not ready to start publishing them in January 2011, for example, I can hold off publishing until January 2012. Or simply use this as an exercise to become faster. I could work on several of these in parallel, so that I can switch stories if I get blocked on one of them.

The other problem ties into this: lack of time. My non-paying working time is already taken up by my webcomic Made of Fail. I might have to stop working on that to make a go of this 12 stories project.

The third problem is covers. The stories will need covers. I’m not good enough to draw them myself. I can’t afford to pay artists for them. I don’t expect to make money with this. (Heck, I’m not doing them for the money. There’s no money in self-publishing. I’m doing them for their own self.) That means I need to figure something out.

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