An Unexpected Gift

Recently I had to shut down my page on Patreon (a website dedicated to bringing artists and patrons together, allowing patrons to pledge periodic donations to help support the artists’ creative endeavors). One of my reward tiers was to offer free short stories at a certain level of donation. The first week, I wrote a story called OUTSKIRTS for them. But I was unable to finish it by the deadline I’d given them for its release, so when I’d reached a suitable cliffhanger moment, I typed TO BE CONTINUED, and sent it to my patrons as part one of a two-parter.

Life and other things then happened. I chose to close down the Patreon page–for a variety of reasons, and before I’d had a chance to finish part two of OUTSKIRTS. I couldn’t let the story go (or disappoint my patrons), though, and have continued working. It’s grown beyond even a long short story and has become a full-fledged novella. I’ve renamed it RUN LIKE HELL, and I finished it early this morning.

Freeing myself from a strict deadline (something I normally adhere to evangelically, whether self-imposed or by contract), actually tightened my focus and work ethic, not vice versa. I wasn’t expecting that. I thought the thing would drift to the back of my brain, becoming something I’d work on in what spare moments I could find while I prepared my next Jason Chance mystery, THIS ANGEL TOWN for publication next month. Instead, I sent the manuscript of THIS ANGEL TOWN off to my most valued beta reader and wrote the second half of RUN LIKE HELL in a frenzy over three days. ┬áthe world of Carrie, Rory, Moss, Adam, and Tiger completely consumed me.

I’m very pleased with the results. The novella is leaner and more muscular than anything I’ve written, with a purity of vision and cohesiveness to its narrative I’m quite proud to have pulled off.

I will, of course, make good on my promise to my Patreon donors and give them first crack at it. Then I’ll publish as a stand-alone novella–right after THIS ANGEL TOWN is released. Adding another piece to the arsenal I’d not expected to have. What a gift.

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