One of the things I've been trying to do lately- I'd call it a New Year's resolution except that New Year's was almost six months ago and I spectacularily failed at keeping any kind of resolution for the first three months or so- is write a solid thousand words per day. (In my defence, I was directing a play for those first three months, which kept me pretty busy.) It's a habit I picked up while working on my novel (which is currently in the editing stages) and it helps me keep in that writerly mindset: as long as I'm plugging steadily away, I don't have the chance to get lazy or wander away from my projects. First I wrote another play; then I turned to an idea I've been tossing around for about a year now, aka the subject of this blog post.
Sherwood Forest is a story very near and dear to my heart- I've been working on it for almost seven years. It is, as you can probably guess from the title, a Robin Hood retelling. It started life as a TV show, but after pitching to all the agents I could find in Canada and getting turned down from all of them (there's no market for non-Canadian period drama in Canada, one informed me. CURSE YOU CANCON!) I shelved what I'd written and went on to work on other things. I sharpened my technique and worked in other mediums and wrote a whooooooooooole lotta fanfic. (I am not linking you to the fanfic, but you can probably find it without too much digging.) And during that time, the self-publishing market changed radically. What had previously been a hush-hush "it happens but we don't speak of it" option for writers had blossomed into a full-grown market. Thousands of people were self-publishing-and they were successful doing it. Moreover, self-publishing was no longer the hallmark of someone who didn't have the grit or drive to do it the old-fashioned way. It was a method of publishing that allowed writers to cater to the audiences they wanted. Self-publishers didn't have to worry about having their books de-gayed by an overcautious agent or publisher. Not only that, but self-published or "independent" authors could do all the experimenting with storytelling and format they wanted. They weren't constrained by the demands of the mainstream market. With that in mind, I looked at my beloved Sherwood Forest- still stored on my hard drive and backed upon USB- and started to think.
Nobody would want to read unproduced scripts; that much was obvious to me. But what about short stories? What if I took my scripts and used the plots and dialogue as a building block on which to build prose? It would never work as a novel; the story was too episodic, as befitted a TV show. But I could release them as short stories, maybe once a month, and have it function as a sort of text-based TV series. No need for a filming budget; no need for agents or producers. Just me and my words. Which- obviously writing doesn't work this way for everyone, and I still do plan on going the traditional publishing route with my novel- suited me perfectly.
So: Sherwood Forest! The first story, Homecoming, is being released on Smashwords on July 15th; it's available for pre-order now. Possibly when it's released and people have (hopefully) started reading, I'll do a Q&A post. Until then, happy reading!