Friday, October 9, 2009

Short to Long ~ EM Lynley

EM Lynley is my guest today. EM has taken a rather different route than Remmy's and Shannon's.

How did you make the transition from short stories to longer works?
I’ve actually taken the opposite path. My first published work was actually novel length and since that time I’ve had several shorter pieces published. I did have a short story in a Christmas anthology last year, but it was an excerpt from another novel. It’s only since I began writing professionally that I discovered the market for shorter pieces. I wrote two novels before SEX, LIES & WEDDING BELLS but I haven’t revised them yet to submit to a publisher. I’ve learned so much about writing since then and I see a lot of ways to improve them before sending them out. Stay tuned though!
I usually come up with an idea for a story first, generally there’s a conflict that stems from their jobs or positions that brings them into conflict and I do my best to get them together. I’d never really thought much about the length of the piece until I began submitting work to publishers. I discovered novella lengths and specific lengths in publishers’ calls for submissions, and I decided to try my hand at those.

How do you deal with the challenges of writing different lengths:

I discovered I pretty much suck at fitting my stories into a predetermined length. The two novellas I wrote felt rushed and flat, and I knew they needed more space to tell the stories properly. I had a short story released recently: Venus Envy from Cobblestone that began its life as a 7000 word story bound for an anthology. It ended up twice that length before I really liked it and felt it was finished. I’ve therefore decided to go back to my original method of telling the story and once it’s finished I’ll figure out where it belongs.

What length do you enjoy writing most?
My stories tend to end up around 40-50K. It seems to take that amount of space to layer in enough characterization as well as wrap up the story.

I noticed in your bio that you lived in England and Japan. What were you doing?
I’ve always had a huge interest in other countries. I minored in Japanese political economy and my senior year of college I lived in a dorm which was half foreign students, so I knew eventually I’d travel and hopefully live abroad. My background is in financial economics and I did my Masters degree in London, at the London School of Economics. I spent two years there and loved every minute of it. Later I spent five years in Japan working for international banks.

Have you used any of your travels in your writing?
I’m currently finishing up a novel that’s set in Thailand, and I’ve drawn heavily on my experiences there. I spent a couple of months in total in Thailand and I was thrilled to be able to use it in one of my stories. I’m hoping to set one in Japan soon, though I’ve got so many projects on my list, I’m not sure when that might happen.

I hear you just edited your first anthology. What did you get from the experience?
Yes, I just finished working on a m/m fairy tales anthology for Ravenous, called BEDKNOBS & BEANSTALKS. It should be out in a couple of weeks. It was really eye opening to see everything from the opposite perspective. I learned a lot about writing from working on other authors’ work, and I definitely discovered how to best get an editor’s interest (or how not to lose it) which should help me in future submissions! It was a fantastic experience and will be working on a few more anthologies in the near future. Honestly, the hardest part was choosing which stories to include. I had to leave out some good stories that didn’t quite fit in terms of length and theme.

Tell us about publishing your first novel, SEX, LIES & WEDDING BELLS.

I have to admit I’m still walking on air about it! It’s sort of a gay version of "Runaway Bride" though beyond the basic premise it’s quite different. It started out as a story I wrote in about three weeks and then posted online. I got hundreds of really positive comments on it, so it seemed the right time to take a shot at sending it to a publisher. I got a contract offer the day after I sent it off! I was thrilled. It’s been a top seller at my publisher, Ravenous Romance, and they sold the print rights to Alyson Books, which is the oldest GLBT publisher in the US. It’s been great to find that the mainstream GLBT publishing world found it good enough to publish.

What’s coming out next?

I have a novella coming out from Dreamspinner Press near the end of the month. DISGUISES is friends-to-lovers story that takes place during and after a costume party where some very unexpected things happen. This is a theme I really enjoy writing, and most of my stories are about couples getting together rather than about men in established relationships. Readers enjoy series with the same characters but I find getting the guys to realize they belong together is so much fun, I haven’t found any couple that cried out for a sequel, at least not yet.

I'd like to thank EM for joining me today. I love the variety in EM's writing and look forward to the upcoming release of
DISGUISES.
You can find EM on the web:
http://www.emlynley.com
http://emlynley.livejournal.com
http://facebook.com/emlynley

Sell link to Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells:
http://www.ravenousromance.com/panamour/sex-lies-and-wedding-bells.php

Sell link to Venus Envy
http://cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/venusenvy.htm

Disguises will be out Oct 28th but it has a page up already:
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1574

10 comments:

Jeanne said...

Thanks for sharing your journey, EM.
I envy all that travel!

P.A.Brown said...

Great blog, thanks for you story, EM.

When I started writing -- science fiction in the beginning -- I heard all the advice to write shorts first, but though I tried, I could never do it. I'm just too darn verbose to write short prose. And even today, outside of the odd erotica piece I still can't. The shortest I seem able to do is novella length. Shorts seem to be a literature I can't master.

emlynley said...

Jeanne--Thanks so much for inviting me! I am lucky to have had the chance to travel. I didn't even get a chance to mention the year I spent traveling in Europe and Asia.. maybe next time.

emlynley said...

PA--I totally understand. It's hard for me to come up with a plot that works for a shorter length. I often feel that short stories I read don't leave me satisfied and I think it's because they didn't really tell a full story or it was thinly written. I'd rather write longer and flesh it out, just like you!

Jeanne said...

I think it is difficult to write a short piece.
And EM, you're more than welcome to come back and share more of your travels.
Like Pat, I started out writing science fiction - when I was thirteen! ;~D

Kayelle Allen said...

EM,
Congratulations on Venus Envy. The cover looks awesome. You've been blessed by the cover fairy for sure!

emlynley said...

I realize I should clarify something. The two novellas that needed more space have been expanded into novel length. They didn't fit the original calls they were written for at that point. I didn't want to give the impression that the two novellas I mentioned weren't properly fleshed out.

emlynley said...

Kayelle--thanks, I think I've been pretty lucky after the first near-disaster... I was able to get the problem cover replaced, but since then, I'm really thrilled with how my covers have come out.

K. Z. Snow said...

Add me to the list of enviers. What a fascinating life-journey, EM.

By the way, did it ever occur to you that Venus Envy would make a great pseudonym? ;-)

Jay said...

Thanks for sharing, EM! Glad to know I am not the only one starting with short stories in my head that end up as novels! Very interesting.