I’m a member of the Author Toolbox Blog Hop. What is it? A chance for authors at any stage in their career to connect by providing helpful posts related to all things writing. The Hop occurs once a month, with the exception of November and December. My second post for The Hop is on the short story. So read on…
Being a new author, I don’t have a big backlist. My first book, Blessed, was published in July 2018. Two more followed. Other authors told me to try the short story. Even my publisher, eXtasy Books, encouraged me to submit for their holiday shorts. I didn’t think I was capable of writing short.
For me, writing short was a great mystery I admired from afar. “How do they do it,” I’d wonder. So I gave it a try, and lo and behold, my two short stories were accepted. How did I manage to pull off this feat? A person who’s used to writing 90k to 100k novels? And in a series?
It wasn’t easy. First, creative me kept wanting to expand the stories, haha. I wanted to turn them into a mini-series of more short stories! But I stopped myself.
I simply started by laying out the GMC for my characters. Who were they? What did they want? What was stopping them from getting what they wanted? Just like I do with series and novels.
I also used the same method with my tagline and blurb.
Voila. I had a base for a short story (I’m a planster btw, part panster and part planner). Since I write stories set in Canada, I used creativity to get my heroine to the USA for American Thanksgiving. I live on the boundary waters, so my heroine came from the same place. Toss in a truck breaking down at the casino where the hero works as a security guard, and the plot was set.
It was simply a matter of using my imagination. My imagination doesn’t stop spinning stories (this started way back with Ken and Barbie).
What did I learn from writing the short story? It doesn’t take as long to write and self-edit. It doesn’t take as long either to edit with my publisher. The process is so much quicker, and I enjoyed this very much. No eye strain from the computer by going over every word because I was around 10k for each story. The editing process went smoothly and fast. Even when I revised the one story to fall more within the parameters of my publisher’s guidelines, I wasn’t hemming and hawing. I had my revision done within the day.
I couldn’t believe me, a person who’d always been leery of writing short, could write short.
Now I’ll have two short stories set for publication for the holiday season: Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I will confess I took a short story workshop a few years ago. And this was a big help while drafting. I kept focussed on the two main characters and the plot. No sub-plots. No secondary characters. Just the bare bones to stay within my word count. And I have this great love for letting my characters internally mull, something my crit partner always gets after me about. He’s constantly whacking my fingers, telling me to stop it and use body language, etc., to show how the characters are feeling. He was a big help by training me to write tight, because I can get pretty wordy—this blog post is a great example of my wordiness, haha.
I’m far from an expert on mastering the short story. There are others who could provide a much better blog post, but I simply wanted to share my experience and what worked for me. Thanks for reading.