Monday, September 26, 2011

New challenge: short stories

Having recently finished my sixth book of either novella or novel length, I've now got short stories on the brain. I'm of the opinion that writing short stories can actually be harder than writing longer length stories. It requires a kind of precision and laser focus that helps you cut down all the extraneous stuff and get right to the heart of a story, like packing for a three-week vacation and fitting it all in a small carry-on bag. That's some serious skill right there.

I've written short stories, though I don't know how many right off the top of my head. It's not something I've put a lot of effort into, though. For one thing it can be hard for me to stick to what I think is the number one rule of plotting a short story: keep it simple. I also have trouble connecting with characters that aren't going to be around long. The best shorts I've written so far are two that feature characters from my novel Mojo Queen. Slipping into that world for a short story felt much more comfortable than visiting a place to which I might not return.

The fact that it's difficult for me is exactly why I want to make a serious effort at writing short stories. To kick off this new goal I'm going to do two things: go through all my old short stories, dust them off, and see if there's anything worth salvaging by applying any new skills I've learned since; and write some new stories. For that I'm going to start by seeing if I can come up with something to enter in the Bloody Parchment Anthology short story competition. If you write horror or dark fiction you might want to take a look at the guidelines and see if you've got anything you can submit. To be honest, other than this anthology I don't know much about the short story market. I'm not going to worry about that too much unless I'm able to write some stories I think are good enough to submit.

Note: my Write Club posting day has moved from Friday to Monday. So Happy Monday everybody!


PamelaTurner said...

I'm starting to write short stories again, hopefully to submit to E-publishers and/or anthologies. Sometimes it's nice to break from a longer story to work on a short piece. And I've always been better at the shorter format anyway. :-)

PamelaTurner said...

Almost forgot. Here are a couple of sites you can search for short story markets: and . I believe Ralan is devoted to speculative fiction markets, though I'm not 100% sure. These are also ways to find anthologies looking for stories.