Monday, July 4, 2016

SILK SONG: A New Story By Emily Paxman


So you might have noticed I have news.

The short version of the announcement is that I've finally decided to share some of my own, original fiction with you through my blog - or blogs as the case now happens to be. You can find the new story, called Silk Song, right here! The long version has a few more details.

Blogging and the World of Self-Publishing

For a while now, some of you lovely people who read my blog have asked if you can read some of my REAL writing. You know, that stuff I talk about all the time. In particular, people have wondered why I don't post more fiction on this blog.

There are a few reasons for that, the chief being that anything posted on the internet is - for all intents and purposes - published. It might not be on a bookshelf and it might not be making me any money, but regardless, if it's online and searchable, it's published. And on the whole, my goals have been to get my fiction published more formally with actual presses who can help me distribute, promote and make money off it.

Most people can understand these concerns, so the follow up question tends to be something along the lines of: what about short stories? Wouldn't those work well on a blog? And wouldn't those be easy? There's kind of an assumption that short story writing is easier than novels and so if I published a short story here, it wouldn't be as much of a sacrifice. And on top of that, it might even be worth something to me if I can use free stories to grow my audience, so that there are people interested in my full length novels when they do come out.

I can't say if I agree with these sentiments or not. Back in my Master's program, I certainly had friends who found short story writing easier than novels and a few of them did publish work for little or no pay. But even in these cases, they were typically publishing their short form work with literary magazines - both in print and online - which provides both legitimacy and increased visibility to the work. So it's not as if the people I know who produce good quality short stories are simply blogging those willy-nilly. They place them carefully and use them to build their own careers, which may be commercial fiction or may be more closely tied to academia.

But the more important objection to posting short stories on this blog is this: I don't write them. It's not for any terribly complicated or idealistic reason. I just don't get ideas for them. During my undergrad writing classes, I struggled to come up with pieces short enough to satisfy my professors. I find it much easier to structure a novel than a short story, not because novels are easy, but because they work better for me and the ideas I have.

In fact, the only short form ideas I get tend to be for... essays. Which you'll notice are what I write for this blog.

Beyond Emily's Stories

I've kept this blog for a couple of years now. It's a small, cozy space where I get to talk about stories and why I love them and where, to my delight, I get to hear from all of you too. I started this blog hoping to spark conversations with my friends and strangers about the books I love. And believe me, it's been a joy to do it. When someone asks me what sort of books I think boys might enjoy or when I find out that one of the books I reviewed has become a new favorite for someone, I'm so touched. And the fact that people are now asking to see more of my work is incredibly exciting.

For a while, I've wondered if I couldn't do something more here. I've had an idea for a new project involving my blog since September, but I was hesitant to put it into action. I knew it would be a large undertaking, and before I committed myself to it, I wanted to make sure I was consistently posting at least once every month, preferably a little more. Since then, I've made an effort to be more diligent and I've also branched out in terms of topics I cover. It's been wonderful to be more involved here, and so I finally feel ready to start my next big project...

Introducing Silk Song

When I considered posting my work on-line, I knew it needed to be the right sort of story and in a way that worked for me. These were my main concerns when I considered posting fiction:

1) I don't get short story ideas. It would need to be a novel (in some sense).
2) My favorite thing about blogging is the interaction and conversation with my readers. I didn't want to post something just to get "likes" or "dislikes" on it. That's not very interesting to me.
3) It needed to be something that I could throw my passion behind and that represented my honest work and effort. And yet still somehow be something I didn't feel so proprietary of and attached to that I wanted to save it and try getting it traditionally published.
4) It needed to be fun.

With these things in mind, I began planning SILK SONG. In some ways, it will be very representative of what I write. It's a Young Adult fantasy novel about a girl who must survive exciting things. It will be posted in short chapter/scene length installments on it's own blog. I considered placing it here, but I felt that since it's an independent story, it needed room to breathe. I didn't want the story's feed clogged up with my book reviews and ramblings about the Hunger Games and I didn't want this blog to lose its focus on the more academic side of writing.

But most importantly, it will also be highly interactive!

SILK SONG is what I like to call a vote-your-own-adventure novel. At the end of each installment, readers will be given a chance to vote on what happens next, from a list of options I provide. Whichever option garners the most support, that's the path the story goes down! I'll write it into the next section and let you see the consequences of your decisions! In addition, I will be reading whatever comments people make, so if I *happen* to like a suggestion you've made for the story in the comments, hey! You never know. It might turn up later.

You can always find a link to SILK SONG from the menu at the top of this blog, as well as right here. The first chapter is already posted, so feel free to dive in! If you want more details about the story, explore the story's blog, which has an "about" section and "FAQ" already. For those who are curious, my current definition of "Frequent" for "FAQ" is "my roommate mentioned this when I pitched the idea to her." Thank you, Miranda.

I'm really hopeful you'll all enjoy the new project. If you do, please share it with your friends, especially if they are/are parents of teen-agers. And if you're liking it yourself, you can subscribe to the blog so that your email lets you know when a new installment is up. Your support means a tremendous amount to me and let's face it, the poll will be more fun with more people voting in it.

Once again, thank you for reading and following along with me. And I hope to see you all over at SILK SONG. It's gonna be awesome, guys. I can feel it. :)