I’m Going to Tell You a Story…. I’ll Make It Brief!

Long seen as the poor relation to the novel, short stories are back in vogue, and with good reason. The turnabout probably came, back in 2013 when Lynda Davis won The Man Booker prize for her collection of short stories. That coupled with the launch of Amazons ‘singles’ – (works of between 5,000 – 30,000 words) have spurred on its success. Since then the short story has grown in popularity, going from strength to strength.

The world today provides a perfect landscape for the short story to flourish.  We are all so busy these days. By trying to navigate and juggle our frenetic lives, our time gets consumed by all things electronic. This is both good and bad. It is within this world that the revival of the short story is showing its metal. The reading of a short story can be achieved on the commute to work, say on your phone or tablet in one sitting – it’s a perfect medium and fits well into that time and place. I personally love the short story form form. As a writer, it helps me to stay sharp and focused. Somehow it seems to drive my creativity for my longer novels if that makes sense? By losing myself for a couple of hours writing a short story, I return to my larger work refreshed and fully charged.  Writing a short means I have to be bold, be bright and be gone. No waffle just straight in feet first. Less is definitely more with a short and therein lies my love of writing them.  It appears I am in good company!

The short story has its roots buried deep within our culture. Dickens, known for creating some of our best loved  fictional characters was a prolific short story writer. His success began with the serialization of The Pickwick Papers. His novels were mostly published in weekly or monthly installments, a sort of short story for the times.

I have recently had some successes with my short stories. They have woven their way into a variety of longlists and this month saw my first short list addition! …. Fingers crossed.

With my second novel well into the ‘red marker’ editing phase (or slash and burn as I call it), I have set my sights on my next piece of work  –  a collection of short stories. They will be my toughest challenge yet but I’m game if you are?

 

hemmingway

I am a 1 in 10!

A ray of sunshine shone into my world yesterday . My short story ‘Soaring’ has been shortlisted for The Black Pear Press Short Story Competition. Well, if that’s not headline news I don’t know what is! Not surprisingly I am very excited, even more excited than my crazy Springer Spaniel, and that takes some beating!

Poppy1
I’m more excited than this!

Picking the Perfect Book Title…. A Stress Most Horrid….

I am at the stage where my second book is ready for editing (thank goodness for that I hear my long suffering family cry). I am clipping and chopping with gay abandon! But… and this is a very big hole in the motorway kind of but… until today I was not convinced I had the right title!! I thought I did, but the more I read, the more it made me wonder is it right??

Many sleepless nights tossing and turning, I battled  with myself. The conversations always seemed to go a bit like this….

Me 1: ” It’s a good title, go with it”

Me 2: ” Yea but I’ve just read something that makes me think maybe I need to re think, does it say what I think it says?”

Me 1: ” Derrr yes it does, go back to sleep you fool”

I always came back to – does my chosen title have the  ability to convey the contents of the book? The more I read, the more tied in knots I got. With my debut novel it was never an issue. I always knew  All Tomorrow’s Parties was exactly the right title. No doubts could creep in, there were no cracks, period.

Book two has been a different animal all together and, I know exactly why. Reading advice on ‘what makes a perfect book title’ is not bad per say, but, reading too much conflicting advice is. This is sadly where I lost 2 weeks of my much needed beauty sleep. I would read an article that would say ‘do it this way’. Then the next day I would read another saying ‘do it that way’. I was blissful in my ignorance with All Tomorrow’s Parties. Choosing the perfect title was not even on my radar. My confidence at finishing my debut novel, held my rose tinteds firmly in place.

I have come a long way over the last year. Some of the advice I’ve received has been stellar.I have stored it away, much like a squirrel, digging it up when needed. Some of the advice however, should be buried and forgotten. All it does is confuse me! The conclusion I reached today was to make up my own mind! Of course, think seriously. View it from as many angles as you can and give it the attention it deserves. I believe most writers do this anyway. The title is a part of you, just like the contents.

PullingOutHair

 

So it is with much excite e mont and merriliciousness that I can announce I have made a final decizione! Fanfare please and a drum roll too… why not? There will be no more gnashing of teeth or tearing of hair. I am to stick with my original title and let it sing its beautiful song. My advice to you?  Ignore advice that confuses you and keeps you awake doubting yourself. It is your creation, the title is a beautiful part of your creative baby. Some will find your baby beautiful, others will think its ugly, no matter. All that matters is that you love it with all your heart.

So I hear you cry – what is this title that has caused you so much angst?

Ah, well…. that would be telling wouldn’t it?

With a twinkle in my eye I am finally ready for a good nights sleep!

 

zzz