This week I heard that my short story, Perilous Truths, will be included in Bridge House Publishing’s anthology, Crime After Crime, due to be released in November. Receiving this confirmation sent a sizzle of excitement through me. Although this story was submitted over a year ago, and accepted last Christmas, I am learning that publishing house schedules mean stories can take some time to find their way into print. I can’t wait to share the cover art with you when they send it through.
Since I hooked up to social media a year ago, I have met many writers and read some wonderful short and flash fiction. My current favourite ‘shorties author’ is Susi Holliday (you can check out a sample of her work on her website ). Her suspenseful crime fiction appears in numerous anthologies and in my opinion she appears to have perfected the knack of drawing a reader into a fictional world in very few lines. No mean feat.
This summer I wrote a short murder mystery tale for an anthology of Rainstorm Press authors’ work. Fingers crossed my submission will be accepted. It was the first shortie I’d written in a long time and I really enjoyed the process. It made me wonder – why don’t I write more?
Like many writers I hold down a job and have family commitments. I guess time is always tight and in those spare moments I have, I like to concentrate on my novel. So, are there benefits to including short stories in our writing schedules?
Penning the story this summer gave me a well needed break from my second book. Whilst I love immersing myself in writing a novel, there are times when the twists and turns, clues, characters and plotlines can tie me up in knots and drive me to distraction. For some reason, I revel in giving myself unbelievable challenges to solve. Usually, at times like this, I take a step back and concentrate on research, or read one of the many books I have on the go, to let the dust settle.
It can be easy, when working on a large project to get carried away with words. Have you ever read a description or a scene in a book that you felt could be done in half the wordage? OK, so we’re not all perfect. But in short stories, just as in novels, every word counts and it seems more strikingly obvious when a writer is prone to verbosity.
I love the world of stories: getting to know the characters, testing them in different circumstances so that they become ‘real’. I enjoy plotting, working with the twists and turns that make crime fiction so fascinating; creating sub plots that run beneath the surface. I love building the excitement and tension of suspense. The challenge of writing a novel encompasses all these aspects and that is what draws me in, however I think that short story writing can assist with our craft because it enables us to focus on brevity, and convey our world to a reader with as few words as possible.
Do you read or write short stories? Do you find they help with brevity, when it comes to writing a full length novel? I’d love to hear your views.