Saturday, April 24, 2021

Your Writing Personality: Blessing, Curse, or Both?

Happy Saturday, all! This week's topic on the SFF Seven Blog is how our Meyer's-Briggs assessment affects our writing, and I'm about to get real. You may not know this, but taking a close look at your personality assessment can point out behavioral issues that could be stifling your writing life. It isn't easy to face truths like this sometimes, but it can help so much when it comes to truly tackling change.

I'm an INFJ, a slightly introverted Advocate with mega intuition who listens to her silly, giant heart. Which is no surprise. Leave it me to spend most of my time cheerleading and helping others rather than focusing on my own work. I battle this constantly; it's just how I'm designed. It's the curse part of my personality.

It wasn't until a couple years ago that I began actively trying to pull the brakes on some of my extracurricular writing and editing activities and instead, turn some of that attention inward. I remember thinking--STOP TRYING TO MAKE EVERYONE ELSE SUCCESSFUL. HELP YOURSELF.

I can't say that I've done the best job at this. I'm still an editor, a job I love. Saying no to people who are Oh, so close isn't in my DNA. Literally. I have to MAKE myself send query rejections (but I can because I have to, just FYI 😉). It's built into every cell that I have to help others though, above helping myself, which is not a great trait. This behavior tendency has led to a long career of seeing other people reach dreams that I've yet to attain. I've worked with people who didn't even know what genre they were writing, and then, a few years later, watched them go on to major traditional book deals, much to my delight. I love seeing people succeed. I will never be the jealous gal in the back corner. I'll be the one screaming and cheering and beaming with pride and happiness at the foot of the stage. 

But, there came a point where I realized that I'm not just an editor, mentor, critique partner, teacher, or cheerleader. I'm a writer, first and foremost. With my personality type, I've had to face more than a few hard truths. Not only the advocate issue, which is still significant, but the idealist side of me also happened to be a weakness. I sought perfection in my own writing, my standards so high I could never be good enough. I've also always had really difficult, high-concept ideas that are doubly hard to manifest under the pressure of my self-imposed impossible standards. AND, on top of that, I struggled to feel okay with starting out anywhere than the top.

And that's ridiculous. (Thankfully, I know this now.)

Another issue I faced was that until just a few years ago, I had no idea how badly I needed organization and lists to sharpen my focus and keep me on track with my writing goals. It was like I knew I needed a plan, but knowing what manner of planning would work for me? I had no clue. Thankfully, this particular battle has been won. Now, I use a KanBan board, quarterly goals, and daily lists to get things done.

It's still a struggle, though. On top of all the above, I'm a hard worker, which means I can put in some serious hours for other people, forgetting that I need to do the same for myself. Prioritizing my own work is still hard for me. I'm that person who has to clean the whole house before they can sit down to write. If I'm not careful, my writing tasks can easily fall to the bottom of my lists. This is something I'm learning to overcome with each passing day. Psychology was my minor in college. I believe in behavior modification, y'all, but it's not easy! 🤣

There are advantages to being an INFJ Advocate, too. The blessing part. For example, INFJs tend to have vivid imaginations and loads of compassion. I'm a bit of an empath as well, so I understand emotion. One of my best talents in writing is getting to the heart of the matter, digging down to the often missing emotional layer in a story. I'm insightful and able to read motivation, feelings, and needs, and my intuition about people, if I'm able to meet someone face to face especially, is often scary accurate. This helps so much when designing characters. I can figure out what makes them tick and translate that to the page. 

Still, I'm a work in progress. But, the work is being done, and partly because I understand my strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. Did I also mention that I'm abnormally persistent? I will get where I'm going, even if my journey takes a little more effort.

How about you? Have you examined your personality type and how it might be affecting your writing life? Is it more of a blessing or a curse? 

Thanks for reading! Do you follow me on social media? I mostly hang out on Instagram. Find me there and say hi!

~ Charissa

Friday, April 23, 2021

Myers-Briggs versus Stories

The Myers-Briggs Personality Types get used a lot in the corporate world in the US. If you ever worked for a large corporate enterprise, chances are good you've taken a version of this test. It's where I ran into it the first time many long years ago. It's interesting, but I find it lacking. I prefer the Gallup Clifton Strengths personality information.

It's strictly because the Myers-Briggs is so malleable. Depending on your mood, you can totally change your four letter descriptor. I'm INFP. The dreamy one. Until, as KAK said, I'm not. Turns out, the middle two letters are pretty interchangeable for me. Digging into further, more detailed testing, I straddle the line between INTP, ISTP, or ISFP. I test out 50% between N and S, between T and F. Finding that out explained a lot about me to me. Hooray, right? What does it mean in regard to writing? 

It means that I have a lot more personality quirks to feed before I can toddle off and produce work. I can't just be the dreamy Introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving personality and emotional type I default to.  I have to keep an eye out for that Sensing and Thinking part of my spectrum, too, especially thinking. If you get into the Clifton Strengths testing, you'll find your personality broken into 34 specific traits that are stack ranked. Your top 5 are your home base. Your top 10  are the neighborhood where you're comfortable walking after dark. Part of my top 5 are learner and input  - both big thinking traits. The point to this is to learn how to play to your strengths while writing. While you're working on books and producing content.

The profit of personality tests in corporate America was to help us deal with our coworkers who might operate from a different set of personality letters than we do. Theory held that once we understood that, we'd have better interaction and rapport. As if a personality test could change the fact that Al from marketing is a jerk. 

In writing, I suspect the personality types give each of us particular strengths. Because I'm INFP, I want my characters to speak to me. I want scenes to just come to me (and they usually do). I don't want to have to work too hard at writing which sounds utterly inane, but my particular strength is synthesizing at the threshold of consciousness and trusting that whatever is brewing back there will rise from the deep haunted water of my psyche. Some people have to consciously work through a story and there are times I do as well, but mostly, stories come to my head fully formed. (Except this past year where pretty much nothing has entered my head because health anxiety especially for my father.)

The biggest personality trait that affects my writing is the fact that I'm an all or nothing person. That means I'm all in or I'm all the way out. There' not in between. If I'm going to write a book, there's the door. Hush up. Don't say goodbye, just go. The sooner the better. Then I'll spend the next 72 hours doing nothing by writing and drowning in story. And making tea. INFP means I need to understand a scene emotionally. Until I do, I cannot write it.

Normally, I don't even think about personality types. I don't type my character personalities. I think more in terms of strengths and wounds and build my story arcs around that. 

I'm interested in knowing if you know which combo of letters you are and where you did your first test.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

THE MARS STRAIN Cover Reveal and the topic of the week: Writing with Your Personality Type


THE MARS STRAIN audiobook cover framed in red with Recorded Books typed in white along the top. A red planet in the background surrounded by viruses behind: A.C. Anderson THE MARS STRAIN Narrated by Morgan Hallett

A brief pause on the blog topic to officially share with you the audiobook cover for THE MARS STRAIN which will 

release next Tuesday, April 27th!!! 

Back to the topic at hand. It appears most writers fall into the INTJ category in the Myers-Briggs personality typing system, including our own Jeffe. Introverts prefer spending time in their own heads, which can lead to writing. 

In the 1920’s Jung separated people into introverts and extraverts and he also split the cognitive process into two types, perception (sensation and intuition) and judgment (thinking and feeling), making eight different categories. The key here is no one will be fully in one category all the time, but you will default to your primary type. 

I’m very curious—what type are you? And are you a writer?


No matter the phase of life or how many times I take the personality quiz I end up as ISFJ-Assertive. The assertive part comes as no surprise, especially to those who know me, because I am confident in my abilities and decisions. I loved managing a laboratory and cancer clinic.  And that career path makes so much sense because my personality type is Defender in the Sentinel category.

Sentinels view productivity as a superpower and plan for everything. We seek order, stability, and security and are comfortable with who we are. Sentinels prefer to work on one project until completion, no hopping from thing to thing for us. And we find inspiration from the past rather than the future. 

If you’re curious about the four types of personalities, or want to take a Myers-Briggs quiz for yourself, 

16Personalities is a fun website to check out. 

Why are we talking about this on our blog this week? Well, understanding yourself and how your brain works is a fantastic tool. I won’t tack on for writing because knowing how you work best will benefit you in everything. But alright, I’ll narrow this down to crafting books and how perception and judging impact the act. 

For me, my perception is Introverted Sensing (Si) and when I’m drafting a new book I’m looking back to what I’ve experienced before and drawing on those reactions and feelings for my characters. I work on gathering information—the time suck known as researching

If you’re like most writers, Introverted iNtuiting (Ni), you’re more likely to find your thrill in the conceptualization—dreaming up your characters and world building—and have a hard time moving on from that stage. 

If you know where your strengths are, then you know where your weaknesses are. Don’t get trapped in your own mind! Example, if you’re stuck in the researching/conceptualization phase how do you move onto the Extraverted Thinking phase where your story becomes organized (yes, necessary even if you’re not a plotter) and forms a beginning, middle, and end. 

For all of us introverts trying to write, what can we do? Don’t get trapped in your own mind. Yes, easy to type out, difficult to actually do and so here are some suggestions that I’m working on:

How to work those Extroverted Thinking muscles

1: Allow yourself time in your strength. My favorite part of the writing process is outlining and researching and I have my best writing days when I start my time reviewing my detailed outline or deep chapter outlines before diving into the actually act of pulling words from the air. 

DANGER: I can’t let myself spend all day there, or my word count will be a big fat zero

Go ahead and let yourself swim in your comfortable waters to warm up for the day, then dive into whatever deeper pool you’re aiming for. 

2: Swallow that fear. I expect you’ve had days like me where you can’t believe you’re trying to write and everything is garbage. The reality, and I can’t thank my CPs (critique partners—particularly Charissa Weaks who has been a god send) enough, is that my writing works, but I’m afraid to put it out there. Even when I’m not close to sending something out or having a book release my mind knows that the end game of all that typing is people reading my words. 

You can let the fear rule the day, or you can face it and tell yourself it’s worth the risk. Of course nothing’s ever obsolete, and there are times fear is really your gut telling you something’s wrong with the story.

3: Set Goals. Hopefully this is an easy one, but here’s a twist to it—make one accessible goal for each day. Finish the book is an excellent goal, but daunting when that’s what’s staring you in the face each morning and you’re on chapter 2. 

Break it down. Yes this is structure, but even abstract thinkers need some structure in order to put together a story, otherwise people won’t understand it. 

4: Trust your gut to guide you. I’ve got that F in my personality type and I know I rely on feeling, but I’m also a laboratorian and trained myself to view with an analytical eye. So I have experienced conflicts trusting my gut when I’m stuck wearing my lab coat. Some instances scream for me to take off the jacket and let the wind guide me. 

When writing THE MARS STRAIN I knew the timeline of both my story and the infection process, it was science. But I was stuck in the middle of the book, I knew it wasn’t working, but I forced myself to keep writing to the timeline. Once I let go and followed my gut I backed up and rewrote a few chapters with more of a character focus. Le voilà!

5: After your gut has you on the right track, time for Extroverted Thinking (Te). Break down the problem. Don’t try to tackle everything at once or you’ll overload your brain. The Te phase is the big red button, the ignitor. Once you hit it everything’s a go and you leave behind the feeling, sensing, and intuiting. I wasn’t able to look at my entire manuscript and see all the twists and tweaks that needed to be done. I started with my main character and worked from there. 

If you’re a storyteller you like living in your own head and no matter what cognitive functions you excel at, I hope some of this helps you defeat procrastination.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

ISNTFJ: Myers-Briggs & My Writing

Myers-Briggs Personality Typing System (MBPTS) personalities in relation to writing. Of the four primary cognitive functions, which one are you and how does it affect your writing? Intuition, Sensing, Thinking, and Feeling.

Here's the thing about my Myers-Briggs test results, and I doubt I'm alone in this: they're different each time I take the test. The only category I'm consistent in scoring is Introverted (rather than Extroverted). When I've taken the test as a corporate wonk, I've scored as an INTJ. When I've taken the test as a creative, ISFP. Those procrastination-enhancing online quizzes when I ought to be writing instead? Taken five minutes apart? Random combos. Really, it's all about what skills are needed in the circumstance. So, how does that affect my writing? 

Introverted vs Extroverted: Simply put, being around people zaps my energy. Unlike an extrovert who is energized by being around people, being in public is a performance for me. It requires me to maintain a heightened level of outward awareness and atypical (for me) behaviors, which exacerbates my overstimulated flight response that is caused by my general anxiety. I am always looking for the exit. Whether I am running for said exit depends on how quickly I can complete the task that's demanded my public appearance. Completing the task dictates the rest of my MBPTS score. 

When it comes to character dev, writing extroverts as the protag is a fun exercise and a good reminder of why I don't do it IRL. Yes, I, sitting alone in my recliner, can feel exhausted on behalf of my character enthusiastically peopling with people. It's a classic case of, "What would I, KAK, do? The character should do the opposite of that."

Sensing vs iNtution: The "how do we gather information" category. Reality versus Imagination. Concrete vs Abstract. Hands-on Experience vs Contemplating Patterns. Scoring on this is mostly about whether I'm collaborating or working independently and what the project goal is. I learn best by doing, no doubt about it. But I am a product of public school indoctrination and higher education in the humanities, so decerning patterns and extrapolating on others' experiences is something at which I'm adept as well. 

How this plays out in my books is reflected in the story's plot. How do my characters go about gathering the information they need to progress to the next step in the journey? Protags tend to be Sensing because showing the character's experience and methods of discovery is important to character-driven plots. AKA action chapters = Sensing. Reality is happening. Introspection scenes are important to reiterate the protag connecting the dots of the plot's progression, plus the downbeat is just as necessary to pacing as the high-intensity action scenes. However, too much navel-gazing drags down the story. For my books, Intuition-driven characters usually are those who fill the mentor role in the larger cast.

Thinking vs Feeling: How I make decisions, facts vs gut reaction. In this category, I'm usually within 4 points of the other. About as close to "equal" as the test gets. Really, it comes down to the goal and what consequences of the decision will be. What is the margin for risk? Big stakes? I'm all about facts and experience. If the cost of a screw-up is going to notably impact the well-being of myself or others, then gimme facts. Unknown territory, unreliable sources, or conflicting "facts"? Medium-low impact? Ability to correct if the wrong decision is made? Sure, I'm all about the luxury of decision-making based on the feels. 

However, as an Army Brat, MAKE A COMMAND DECISION is deeply ingrained. Dear Readers, there is nothing that will send me around the bend faster than someone who won't make a decision when they are the ones with the responsibility to do so. I will either steamroll over the indecisive person or I will walk away. Pee or get off the godsdamned pot. Nope, not even remotely sorry. Need time to make a decision? Fine. Say so and stick to it. I'll respect your position as the decision-maker if you respect my time. 

When it comes to writing, this category is where the analytical side of being an author meets the creative side. Determining how I market my books and evaluate ROI, that's all Thinking. Deciding when my characters are decision-makers versus decision-receivers is heavy on Feeling.  

Judging vs Perceiving: When engaging with the outside world (aka society), do I prefer structure and organization (Judging), or am I most comfortable in fluid spontaneous situations (Perceiving)? Now, I'm not the greatest fan of the term "Judging" here because it implies "Judgemental." Contrasting that with "Perceiving" implies Judging is narrow-minded, blind to the outliers, and will side with authority over morality. Meanwhile, "perceiving" implies wide-eyed wonder and naivety. Words matter, and in the case of MBPTS, the naming convention is an epic fail. 

That said, I'm predominantly Judging because I prefer to know the expectation, the process, and the measure of success so I can complete the task and retreat into my hermitage. I am a creature of habit. I like having a plan. cough Spontaneity is fine, as long as it's scheduled. cough It goes back to managing my anxiety, if I know what to expect and what is expected of me, then I'm much more likely to not only be successful, but I also will avoid a full-blown panic attack. 

How Judging versus Perceiving shows up in my writing is that I am a skeletal plotter. I define the structure and organize the major events before I start the book. My penchant for perceiving is reflected in all that isn't defined in the outline. I do like surprises. I do like discovery. I do like an unexpected twist. To me, that's good entertainment. In fiction. Fiction. 

Do not, under any circumstance, show up at my home unexpectedly. That shit's not funny. 

Monday, April 19, 2021





“I thought I was ready for The Sorceress Queen and The Pirate Rogue but I clearly wasn’t. I eagerly anticipated it but I was in no way shape or form ready for how this book arrested me and held me captive for the duration. I loved Stella and Jak’s even though my heart took up residence in my throat for its entirety. There’s action, adventure, sexual tension, love and so much more. I loved it and can’t wait to be wrecked by the next book in the series.” ~ Timitra on Goodreads


A Lonely Road

Stella has always been one to count her blessings. Empath, sorceress, shapeshifter, and healer, she’s grateful for the gifts the goddess of shadows has bestowed upon her. Yes, she’s sensitive to emotions and can’t bear to be in large crowds for long. And yes, that means she’ll never be able to take a lover as she’s unable to withstand physical contact with anyone but her twin brother. Certainly now that he’s found his true love, she feels more alone than ever. None of it haunts her, however, like the vision of the lonely tower where her life path ends.

An Unrequited Love

Jakral Konyngrr is a man of simple tastes: good whiskey, some coin in his pocket, and a fine blade in his hand. Though he’s no prince, not a shapeshifter, and not blessed with any magic, he’s happy in his skin. And yet he seems doomed to live the life of a hero from a tragic ballad, because the only woman he’s ever wanted barely knows he’s alive. As much as Jak longs for Stella, he’s resigned himself to being forever in the background. At least he can guard her back.

A Quest to Stop a Monster

But now Jak and Stella have been thrown together—along with a mismatched group of shifters, warriors, and sorceress friends—chasing and attempting to avert magic rifts that release monsters into their world. Worse, the strange intelligence behind the bizarre and deadly attacks seems to have developed a fascination for Stella. Battling for their lives and the good of the realm, they must fight—and perhaps love—together to alter the course of the future before it’s too late.


Incidentally, our topic this week is: INTJ (Myers-Briggs personality typing system) personalities in relation to writing. Of the four primary cognitive functions, which one are you and how does it affect your writing? Intuition, Sensing, Thinking, and Feeling.

For the record, I am INTJ. I think a lot of writers are. *Mastermind fistbump*

Did I mention it's release day?? Even an INTJ gets a little giddy!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Writing Works of Varying Lengths

This week's topic at SFF Seven is the difference between writing a short story, novella, novel, and series, and if we prepare for length beforehand or edit down (or add new stuff) afterward.

My answer to the last part? All of the above. But let me dig deeper.
It took me a long time to learn to write more economically, to lean out my flowery prose, and tighten my work. I knew the genre standards, and I was developing a strong understanding of plot, but I still wrote too long and too cluttered. Now? Now I can cut entire paragraphs without so much as a blink because I know when I'm going overboard or adding words that aren't needed. This is a skill that often takes time, practice, and a willingness to slay your darlings--the right darlings. (I could STILL tighten this paragraph!)

How else can you control word count?

I use math. I'm drafting a historical fantasy novel, and while I know I might need to add a bit to the 2nd draft, I'm aiming for 100K. Historical fantasy can often be longer than a lot of books because historical + fantasy (and I add a little romance) = a lot of worldbuilding. That said, I know not to bloat the page, and to get from one plot point to the next in a concise fashion. How?

I divide my books into 4 acts (still based on the three-act structure), but this gives me goalposts to reach as I draft:
  1. the first act turn
  2. the midpoint
  3. the second act turn/climax
  4. the end! 
Divide 100K by 4 and that means I have 25K words to get from point to point. 

I even do this for novellas and short stories. When I first decided to write a short story in 2017, I had no idea what I was doing and was pretty sure I would suck at it. But, I did know plot, and I used those goalposts to help me craft a few shorts and novelettes. I managed to win a couple contests, get published in a book with Diana Gabaldon writing the forward, and one of my shorts was published twice, once in the US in print, and once in London in audio. One of my novellas came in 2nd place in the New England Reader's Choice Award as well, and I've edited short stories for some very talented authors who trusted me with their words. All of this after someone, back in 2017, almost had me convinced that I couldn't write a short story using my method.

So yes, I prepare for length beforehand. I know going in what type of story I'm writing thus the needed word count. However, I've certainly had a novelette become a novella as I was drafting, and I've even had a novella want to be bigger. Maybe not a full-grown novel, but more ;) I'm turning a previously published 20K word novella into a 45K word novella, and now it's book one in a trilogy. It's been a lot more work than I imagined, but thinking bigger and having an overarching plot has helped. For me, plot is integral to my process. Sometimes, a story (like this trilogy) needs more planning, and sometimes, like for my historical fantasy, I just need those goalposts or major plot points/story tent poles in my head as I work. But ultimately, my understanding of plot gets me through any story.

In this way, writing a novel vs shorter works isn't very different for me. I just have fewer words to get from point to point, so my creativity is tested, which is a challenge I find fun. 

Ultimately, every writer is different. We all have to figure out what elements of the writing process work for us and which ones don't, and then adjust accordingly. For so many writers, figuring out their writing process is a battle, but know that if that's you, you're not alone. It can take a lot of trial and error, but you'll get there.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

How a Plotter Learned How to Plan the Length of a Novel

Dark blue sky with a blurry glimpse of white clouds with the words: No Writing Is Wasted in white on the bottom

 Vivien took our topic of the week and compared it to gardening. I totally dig her explanation. You should check it out. 

But today is Thursday which means I’m supposed to provide some insight. Which is difficult for me to believe that I can offer up anything useful, a side effect of struggling mentally, though I’m going to give it a go. 

Once upon a time I was invited to write a novella for an anthology. At that time I’d only written one novel and was working on my second and I thought sure, I can write something creepy and short! Reader: I can’t write anything short. My first stab at a novella ended up exploding into the opening for what could’ve been a 95,000 word novel! 

Whoa! Let’s deconstruct that sentence because it packs a lot.

First, my novella attempt exploded meaning I failed to keep the story and pace compact enough and it ended up reading like the first few chapters of a novel. Second, this novella draft was for a thriller anthology. 95,000 words is too long for a short and it’s too long for a thriller novel! 

-No Writing Is Wasted-

You know the saying “no writing is wasted”? Well, I guess it’s actually true because from this failed attempt I did learn a few things. Yep, you’ve got that right: I can’t write anything short. I love building; building the world, building the characters and their growth slowly, building the plot. So I know if I’m ever to really write a novella I’m going to have to practice a new kind of writing craft. 

I also learned how to plan out the length of my WIP (work in progress). The first novel I wrote I penciled into a 5 subject notebook. Bad idea on so many levels, but for today’s topic—soooo bad in regards to knowing how long the book would be. And since I was in the process of drafting my second novel I decided to change my process and write each scene to match its genre: sci-fi thriller. 

Plotter (n): someone who plans things out in advance


I’m a plotter, so I already had a synopsis and an outline and knew what would happen in each chapter. But I had long first and second chapters and a short third chapter. How in the world was I supposed to predict the length of my completed manuscript at this rate and how long should it be?!

Problem! How long is the typical scene for a thriller?!

My solution was to read. I picked up countless science fiction, thriller, and sci-fi thriller books. I made a spreadsheet. *tip my hat to Jeffe* And after all that I determined I wanted my book to end up at 75,000 words (about a 300 page book because that was the average length for thrillers). On top of knowing how long I wanted the complete project to be I also knew I needed to keep the action tight for this genre and my goal was to have each chapter be in the 6-8 page range.


to calculate book length from word count ÷ by 250 

On average there are 250 words per page. 

Armed with this knowledge I set out to work each scene to fit my page goal which led to me to reaching THE END at 76,000 words! Granted, that was the first draft and it went through a lot of revisions resulting in additional scenes. Curious about how it all turned out? Well, the WIP I’m talking about is THE MARS STRAIN which will release in audiobook on April 27th! 

Next week I’ll share a preview of the cover. Until then, let me know how you plan for the length of your WIP! If you’re a pantser how do you make it work? If you’re a plotter as well, do you outline each scene so you can control the chapter lengths?

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Growing a story garden

Maybe I'm getting old or turning into my mom or something, but I've recently been gardening a lot. (Too much?) It's relaxing, low pressure, and nobody cares really if I succeed or fail. The patch of green stuff is in my back yard anyway, so who would know if every plant in it just dried up and turned to dust? Nobody. Which is what makes gardening perfect for folks who fight anxiety.

One thing I've discovered about gardening is that the phrase "you're comparing apples and oranges" is not trite. It's absolutely true. Every plant in the garden is different, requires different handling, different planning. Some want more water, some get testy when they're over-watered, some need constant sun drenching them, and others prefer a bit more shade. I tend them all every day, but I don't tend them in the same way.

Stories are kind of like that.

Over the years, I've written stories of every length: flash fiction, short stories, novelettes, novellas, and novels. I've adored each process and am not quite sure I have a favorite. They all bloom differently and brilliantly, but where they're most like plants is in the planning and expectation. I have never planted a short story and unexpectedly gotten a novel. I don't even know how that happens.

I did once start to write a novella for a submission call and about 10k words in realized that I was in fact writing a novel. The pacing is different, the feel, the ... I don't even know how to describe it. Each kind of story is unique, and you can't transmorgify one into another by simply adding or deleting words. That's not how grown things work.

Right now, I'm sitting on a novella that I wrote specifically to be a novella, but I'm told it raises some juicy worldbuilding questions and concepts, and a couple of early readers have expressed interest in knowing more. (A good thing! I think!) My first instinct was to expand on what I've already written, but the more I ponder it, the less I want to dig up and replant this guy. Better to write an actual novel in the same world to accompany the novella. Maybe?

No idea, honestly, if that's the right decision, but it feels right. And like any other organic process, writing kind of has to go on feel.