It’s taken forever, but decisions on a design for my author’s website are ready to implement. And after long consideration, I forced myself to turn a corner that I’d been dreading for a long time, even as I yearned to take the first step–EBOOKS: ON THE SHORT SIDE.
I’m ready to bridge the gap between what I’ve been doing and the future. The first foray will be two-fold. One short volume will consist of five flash fiction pieces. I was fortunate enough to take a 3-week workshop course on flash fiction with author Holly Lisle. I learned a new perspective for writing short and a new drive and vision for old projects that weren’t so short.
Completion of the course was postponed, but the five stories are on their way now, with better plots than before, due to added time for thought concerning their arcs. That was the silver lining to recent necessary recuperation time.
Something else came from the course. Many of my prior flash fiction pieces were really much longer stories in disguise. Holly’s course taught me to focus tight, to carry a single thought—a single plot point to completion within 500 words, while still using plenty of conflict/crisis. The learning process was arduous. I’m still getting used to it.
When a person normally thinks in short arcs, but ones that always lean toward chapters rather than completed stories, squeezing the essence of both character and crisis into such limited space becomes an even greater challenge. It’s actually easier for me to create a 55-word flash piece than it is one of 500 words. Don’t ask me why. I have no clue about why that is.
What I know is that recognizing the tendency to write that way has opened vistas hitherto unseen. Because of novellas.
For those who don’t know the numbers, this is how stories run to length.
- Flash fiction: 1-1000 words and equals 1-4 pages, depending on the publication guidelines. Think Hemingway’s perfect 30 word stories. Or, a specified number of sentences that create the story; i.e. 7-sentence stories.
- Short-short stories: 1001-3500 words and equals 4-14 pages respectively, depending on publication guidelines. Some publications will take up to 5000-7500 words as a short-short story.
- Short stories: 7500-12,000 words and equals 30-48 pages, depending on publication guidelines.
- Novellas or Middle Grade novels: 30,000 words and equals 120 pages.
- YA and Adult Novels: 50,000-125,000 words and equals 200-500 pages respectively.
Since each publication has its own take on length and definition, always write to guidelines. That’s the first rule that one never breaks.
Recognizing that my chapters always ended with a mental question and that much of my flash fiction did too, showed me that I think and write in episodic style. I can maximize that style to present whole stories as they were done long ago—in serial form—and still be effective.
With this knowledge, I can move forward with new excitement. I can work on episodic short stories or novellas for the eBook market and continue with novels on the side.
If any of you have done this type of writing and have advice or comments, drop a comment. Let me hear your story or success or failure. Remember, I see failure as an opportunity to make changes. No judgments here.
- Flash Fiction in Ten Words #TweetFiction (edsmanalo.wordpress.com)
- Flash In The Pan, Flash Fiction: Right (johnbalaya.wordpress.com)
- Short story finished! (kristinlcosentino.wordpress.com)
- Flash Fiction Friday: Meeting a Stranger (nikewrites.wordpress.com)
- Short Story Saturday (inkandpapyrusblog.wordpress.com)
- The Magic of the Witching Hour (littlewritelies.com)
- Claudsy’s Blog: Shaking Hands with Opportunity (2voices1song.com)