Tag Archives: writing a short story

I Finished an 8,500 Word Short Story

When sudden stroke or paralysis knocks a person off the track of life, it takes time and rehabilitation to re-order things. One starts walking again one baby step at a time.

In my recovery from my writing paralysis, it is similar. Time helps. Writing therapy (exercises) does, too. Finally, I reach the point where I decide I am going to finish a story I started two years ago, and I do. It feels good. A friend of mine, an avid reader, looks at it and says it works. That feels good, too. I like the story. That feels best.

Final editing and getting the story formatted for publication comes next. Baby steps. Each step gets me closer to my goal of professional author.

Marketing My Novel, Step 4

As part of marketing my first book, I need to start the next novel.

Statistics show that, on average, authors don’t start selling books until they have a minimum of four books on the market. I wonder what it is about human nature that makes readers decide to buy a new author’s work when there are four books out. Not two. Not three. Four is the magic number.

Seriously, I have to start my next novel now, as I am wrapping up my first one, even before it hits the presses.

I have considered cheating–writing a couple of short stories that fall in length between an in-depth magazine article and a novella–to try getting works in print on the market. I don’t know if it will piss off readers or tease them into waiting for the next full-length feature.

Already I have readied a short story called “Strange” (8,000 words) that will release at the same time as the novel. It is set in a fictional town in Pennsylvania. The short story can be packaged with the novel as a promotion, a special value, to tempt someone to buy my book because the reader will get two reads for the price of one. It’s a tactic I want to try. Will it work?

I don’t know. We’ll find out together, won’t we.


Writing the Perfect Short Story

Writer, blogger, and attorney Lasesana recently featured Uruguayan  author Horacio Quiroga’s Ten Rules for Writing a Perfect Story. As Lasesana said, the first few are very general, so I have selected the latter part of the list to reproduce here. The rules have been translated from Spanish:
horacio quiroga

  • Have blind faith in your capacity to succeed, or in your desire to achieve success.  Love your art like your girlfriend, giving it all your heart.

  • Don’t begin to write without knowing where you are going from the first word.  In a good short story, the first three lines are almost as important as the last three.

  • If you want to express “a cold wind blew from the river,” write just that.  Once you have mastered the use of words, don’t worry whether they are consonant or assonant.

  • Don’t add unnecessary adjectives.  Colorful words attached to a weak noun will be useless.  The correct noun will have incomparable color and brightness.  The trick is finding it.

  • Take your characters by the hand and lead them firmly to the end, ignoring everything but the way you have plotted.  Don’t get distracted by seeing things that they cannot and care not to see.  Don’t abuse your reader.  A short story is not a miniature novel.  Hold this as an absolute truth, even though it isn’t.

  • Do not write from under the power of your emotions.  Let the feeling die and evoke it later.  If you are able to conjure up the feeling again, you are halfway to mastering your art.

  • Don’t think about your friends when you write or on the effect that your story may have.  Tell your story as if it only mattered to the confined world of your characters, of which you may be a part.  This is the only way to give your story life.

from http://lasesana.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/horacio-quirogas-ten-rules-for-writing-a-perfect-short-story/