Further to several paragraphs of angsting and thinking out loud, I have made some decisions about what I want to write and where that fits in long-term.
The first decision is to cease writing short stories for the moment. While it is pleasant when I do well in competitions, and even more pleasant when I get paid actual real-life money, there are too many prestigious longlistings and near-misses to make it worth my while at present, financially and professionally, to write any more. Plus the stories I write are, I suspect, not conforming to current fashions.
Therefore I will concentrate exclusively on writing novels. Now that I’ve mastered writing one, I might as well keep working on more. The novel that is currently with my agent is set a century in the past, and its theme is the betrayals and exigencies people can force on each other during war, and the power of romance and redemption alongside it.
I like big historical themes like that, with living, breathing characters who stay in the reader’s heart, right in that heart’s city centre, and don’t float along like literary abstractions on the perimeter suburbs. I wish to write more novels in that style, particularly revering writers like Némirovsky, and feeling humble when I think of her accomplishment. I wish to write as many novels as the muse will allow me in the next few years and I will strive to do my best.
That’s my plan.