I find myself thinking about short stories lately. I have thought since the very beginning of jumping in to self publishing that short stories are a nice way to introduce readers to a world. And it’s something I did with Blindsight and evidently did pretty well, as I’ve had over 80,000 downloads that I’m aware of. I had hoped that the interest generated from that freebie would translate into people checking out the rest of what I have available in my Mirus series because they liked the world, and to a certain extent I think it did, but what it REALLY did was generate interest in those CHARACTERS. Kait Nolan Revelation remains one of the top search terms for my blog. Really must get that formally in the pipeline…
Interest in characters over world could be the topic of a whole other blog post, but it’s not what I’m thinking about today.
This year is not going to be a year of epic word count for me. It simply can’t be. I have too many EDJ responsibilities at the primary job, I’m writing an entirely new class for the second job, and I vowed that I would work on that whole having a life thing (I know, what a concept). And I don’t want to have another year of no releases (well it shouldn’t be NO releases…Riven will come out at some point, but you get my drift). So I’m back to thinking that short stories would be a good option while I’m working on longer things like rewriting DOTH and plotting out whatever comes after that.
But here’s the thing. I find short stories INCREDIBLY hard. Something that hits between 7-10k for me takes me WEEKS to write, where I might easily rip out that many words on a novel in a week and a half. Part of how I’m able to do that with novels is the planning that goes into things. I have a system (that is admittedly constantly being tweaked) that I follow that gets me where I need to be to write them and cuts a lot of the crap.
I don’t have a system for short stories. Indeed there doesn’t seem to EXIST a true system for short stories based on what my Google Fu turned up. There’s room for so many variations that nobody is willing to say “here, do this.” There’s a lot of hemming and hawing and butt-covering (which, frankly, reminds me of the kind of crap we pull in academia because nobody wants to be accused of saying “I’m RIGHT”) and suggestions.
So anyway I want to MAKE a system, create a worksheet or SOMETHING that will enable me to get the pieces of a short story in order to maybe make the writing of them easier.
That’s where you come in. I want YOUR suggestions, your thoughts on what makes a good short story, your links to other resources you’ve come across. Bring it!