Today I'd like to continue to chronicle my development as a writer, if for no other reason that it's mildly amusing. When last I wrote on this topic, I had just completed a couple of novels that began as fan fiction and wound their way into decent Fantasy and Sci Fi. When I completed those novels, I wasn't fully satisfied with them, but I began working on their sequels.
It wasn't long after that that I realized that breaking into publishing as a 15 or 16 year-old kid writing novels wasn't the easiest thing to do, and I decided that I should get some short stories under my belt. So I started to write stories. Piles and piles of them. There were a lot of sci fi stories set in the universe of my book, but featuring other characters. There were a lot of fantasy stories that similarly set ground work for that novel. And then there were the darkly ironic stories that stemmed from watching too much Alfred Hitchcock Presents and reading too much cynical short fiction. And then there were more mysteries than I can even remember.
I was able to crank out the stories at am pretty unbelievable pace and, frankly, as I've said elsewhere, if I could get a staff job at a pulp fiction mag, I would be all over that.
At any rate, this energy created a tidal wave in my writing, and I started expanding my novel work. In addition to the two sequels, I began a mystery novel, a spy fiction novel, and an action-adventure novel.
The page count I turned out during this period is astounding, and reminds me of one of the few things I liked about high school. Free time.
A lot of the stories were okay and fully salvageable, and one of my projects right now is going through a lot of those and overhauling them so they are consistent with my adult voice and style, and then submit. Some will be re-submit from (cough) years ago and others will be new tries.
Probably not as much, because one of the things that was truly valuable from this time in my writing was learning what I excelled at and what was a struggle. For instance, it's where I learned that trying to write a mystery, especially a novel-length one, is like needling my eyes with an icicle.
If there's a takeaway from all this that might help other writers, it's this: play around some. Write as much as you can, even if it doesn't go anywhere, and write in every genre that ever even slightly piques your interest. You owe it to yourself and to future readers to get a glimpse of what that kind of work would end up looking like.