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Showing posts from September, 2011

Short Stories Elicit Reactions

Art should elicit a reaction out of you.  Even if you hate a movie or painting or book, it's still a memorable experience in its own way.  The worst possible thing an artist can be is forgettable.

One thing that really has interested me as I continue to write short stories is how people react to them.  I've received 1 star through 5 stars as a rating.  In terms of feedback I've had the scathing one sentence and I had a review that was nearly as long as the story itself outlining all of its merits.  Flattering or insulting, it doesn't bother me.  All I ever ask for is an honest opinion.  Honestly.

However, what seems to upset most people is the length.  In all the good reviews I've ever received, the reviewer tends to focus on the story itself.  The reviews that are not so positive or just plain lukewarm almost always stem from the length of the story.  On several (yes, more than once) occasions, I have received feedback saying that the story was so short it was a w…

Muzik Chronicles

So!  I've been wanting to start a mildly geeky blog for some time.  In elementary school I already had the music nerd title so in an effort to at least appear somewhat normal I would usually keep my geekiness in check.  Mostly.  I mean, it came out every once in awhile.  Like, everyone knew I loved Star Wars in 5th grade.  Whatever.

But now that I am an adult and free from the shackles of peer pressure, I am at liberty to express my geeky nature!  I've been mulling for some time over what kind of geeky blog I would want to write (plus, I just love to mull).  I've also been thinking about educating the short story reader.  Or at least maybe giving people an outlet to try writing for themselves.

The result: Muzik Chronicles.

Muzik Chronicles is an interactive sci-fi blog.  For my other fellow geeks out there: think of it like a customizable card game.  Every post is designed to add a little detail to the universe.  There are six types of posts:  weapon, ship, planet, race, p…

Review of "After The Rain," a Short Story by Shannon Eckrich

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Summary: Janie Chanson leaves Adam, her seven-year-old son, with her sister while she runs to the store. When she returns, her house is fully engulfed in flames, and her son is trapped inside. Powerless to save him, Janie can only watch as firefighters attempt to rescue him.

Review: Much like the summary, "After The Rain" is very straightforward.  There aren't any layers within layers, there are no mysteries to ponder, we know exactly what happens to everyone.  "After The Rain" is about a woman stricken with grief as she watches her son die.  Period.
The writing is powerful and the characters are realistic.  Despite the short length you can't help but feel for Janie as she watches her son perish.  In that sense, the story does a credible job eliciting a reaction out of the reader.
But in the end, I'm not really sure what the author was trying to drive at.  It's a gripping but far too depressing tale to entertain.  The manner of death is sad but not u…

Educating the Short Story Reader

I think one of the biggest public dangers a short story writer faces is ignorance.  Now I'm not saying that everyone should know everything.  Nor am I calling anyone who doesn't read/understand short stories stupid.  But I am saying that short stories are a topic not widely discussed which therefore leads to a lot of misconceptions.

What do I mean by not widely discussed?  I mean people just don't really talk about them.  Period.  A TV show, for example, is something widely discussed.  So even if a person never watched TV at all they could probably give a fairly accurate definition of what a TV show is and probably explain to some degree how a TV show differs from a movie.  It's part of our culture and, therefore, an understood entity.

Short stories are not a large part of our culture.  At least, not in the same way books are.  The term itself (short story) seems somewhat self-explanatory.  The reader feels no need to research the purpose of the short story because the…

Review of "The Deadly Path," a Short Story by Will Granger

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Summary:
In this short story, five-year-old Cindy watches from her bedroom window as an old man passes by in the middle of the night. Strangely drawn to the man, Cindy sneaks out of her house and finds him by following a golden path that only they can see. She watches as he buries strange coins by the corners of several houses.

What Cindy does not know, is that people start dying in those houses. Cindy's life changes when her best friend dies in a fire, and she finds one of the coins buried under the ashes.

Review:
There were things that I both liked and didn't like in this story by Will Granger.  I liked the concept and the pacing.  This may be a personal preference, but much can be forgiven in a short story if the concept is intriguing.  Granger does a good job implying a lot of things instead of spelling everything out.  This allows the reader to really focus on the creepy "Indian burial ground" aspects of the story.

The pacing of "The Deadly Path" also w…

Concept behind "Dead in a Flash" by Alain Gomez

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Dead in a Flash is a flash fiction collection that explores those last few seconds before death occurs.  I've had this idea rolling around in my head for years now but nothing ever came of it until now.  I was inspired when I visited London for the first time and took a tour of the Tower.  As a part of the tour, they show you where all the famous "traitors" (people like the wives of King Henry) of England were held and where they walked as they were led down to the chopping block.

For some reason that little walk was very powerful to me.  This may have been due, in part, to the fact that I had been reading a lot of books about the Tudors at the time so a lot of the people they were talking about were fresh on my mind.  As they led us down the step I had this weird past/present feeling and it occurred to  me that if this were my execution, those surroundings would be the last few things I would ever see and experience.

That whole idea of dead before your time or an unjus…

Short Story Blogs

Finding short story blogs is harder than one might think.  Sure, there are short story friendly blogs.  But this is not quite the same thing.  Usually it means the blog is run by a novel reader/writer that is open to the idea of maybe trying a short story.  It's a dicey prospect at best and can be a little disheartening if you're fond of the short fiction genre, especially if you're an independent author.

So I'm putting together a list of some short story related blogs (aside from this one, of course!) along with a description  of the blog.  You're not alone out there.  There are others that share your interests.  It just takes a little more work to find them.

Please feel free to add to this list.

Reading the Short Story- Written by literature teacher Charles E. May.  His posts are meaty, so don't expect a fast read.  Every post analyzes a short story of his choosing.  Many of them are classics.  This is a fantastic blog if you want an education in short stories…

Sales Stats for Shiromi Arserio

I'm not a published fiction author. My background has been writing for magazines and online in the area of travel and outdoors. I electronically published my first short story, The Huntsman's Tale, on Amazon and Smashwords on June 15, and have done a low to medium amount of advertising on it. This particular short story is just over 9K, although the one I'm currently working on will be around 6K, so for me, the length of the story really depends on the story idea. The genre of the story is fantasy- more specifically fairytale retelling.

I haven't had any B&N sales yet. Here's my Amazon data:

June 2011 - 3
July 2011 - 6
August 2011 - 6

I plan to release my second short story later this month, and I am genuinely interested to see how that will affect sales, although my second story is more science fiction. My general feeling towards writing short stories, is to write to the length that the story calls for. Right now at least, i'm trying not to worry too much about…

Review of "The Disappearances at North Valley High School," a Short Story by Nora Crest

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Summary: New student Claude Williams is the talk of the school. Girls would love to go out with him, but the rumor is he's married! Can this be true? What is it he's hiding? Meanwhile, students have been disappearing all over campus, and no one has any clue as to their whereabouts. Natalie Jenson, the school snoop, is determined to get to the bottom of things, no matter what it takes.

Review: **May Contain Spoilers** For better or worse, this story reads like one of those Lifetime movies you see on TV.  It's light, moves along at a good pace and has scenery descriptions that sometimes feel more like a script rather than a story.
I found myself interested in the plot from beginning to end but the writing style was a little awkward. The dialog was sometimes redundant and the ending, though neatly tied up, seemed to come out of left field.  The villain ended up being someone who was never even mentioned earlier in the story.  So while our main characters are shocked at the dis…

Review of "The Tool," a short story by Stephan Tweed

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Summary: A dirty old man gets more than he bargains for when he uses a very special escort service.

Review: This was an engaging story though somewhat clumsily executed.  The typos and grammar issues are numerous enough to where it does start to distract from the story.  It felt like I was reading a first draft of something rather than a polished work.
While the cover and summary seem to tell their own story, the actual one written down could best be classified as horror/thriller.  It's about a scam artist with a vendetta.  Without giving too much away, the scam artist trains young girls to take the money but not exactly provide the "escort service"
I did enjoy the plot.  The story has a sort of grim humor to it with an ever so slight nasty twist at the end.  While the premise of "The Tool" is easily understood, there were many instances where the writing just felt unpracticed.  The concepts where all good but maybe not portrayed in the most effective manner.  S…

August 2011 short story sales

Well, August has certainly been an interesting month in the sales department.  Since summer obviously slows things downs quite a bit, I decided to experiment.  What's the worst that could happen?  A repeat of July?

I've already tried to play around with prices with lackluster results.    Despite all the rampant theories about 99 cents vs. 2.99 vs. 4.99, it really doesn't seem to make any difference for short stories.  People either want them or they don't.  A customer who really wants a novel to read will feel short changed regardless of the price paid for the short story.

So I decided to set Celebrity Space for free on Amazon/B&N.  For several months, I've had flash fiction posted for free on Smashwords.  I also wrote a blog post on whether or not writing for free was worthwhile.  Strangely enough, my views have not really changed since that original post.  But let me post my August numbers first and then I'll go more into that.  As before, these are only…

Different Short Story Lengths

I have started a new blog called Short Story Symposium.  Never fear!  Book Brouhaha is still alive and well.  I have no intention of abandoning it.  Short Story Symposium serves a different purpose.  The idea behind the blog is for short story authors to feature their work.  I've noticed that Amazon and B&N are sadly lacking in this department.  Short stories are rarely, if ever, featured.

So, if all goes according to plan, this blog will become a resource for readers interesting in discovering new short fiction authors.  I am also using the blog as a way to educate readers how the word count will affect the way story reads.  I'm starting to believe that the biggest thing working against short stories is a lack of education rather than the price point.  But more on than in a later blog.

On Short Story Symposium, I spell out the different short story lengths.  It's a pretty good summary, if I do say so myself, so I thought I would post it here as well.

Here it goes:

&qu…

Concept behind "Forbidden Instinct" by Alain Gomez

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You know, I'll be honest: I have mixed feelings about this story.  Forbidden Instinct and I never really "clicked" while I was writing it.  Which means, knowing my luck, that somehow this will be the story that makes me rich and famous.  That way when people ask the source of my inspiration I can give an eloquent "uhhhh....ermm...yeeeeah...." as a response.
I feel the resulting story is entertaining enough and I like the premise.  I really wanted to sort of begin to explore a certain type of romance.  The idea of women having to choose freedom in knowledge vs. freedom in family is interesting to me.  I want to try this plot framework again but maybe with a different setting.
While I may feel lukewarm about the story itself, I learned quite a bit while writing it.  For one thing, I learned more about what I don't like to write.  For another, I was able to explore that 5,000+ word short story range (this one clocks in at a little over 6k).  It really changes th…