We have a guest post from Renée on why she writes short stories. There's also a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself. Read on for more details!
* * *Why I Write Short Stories
The current revival in short fiction is a splendid outcome to the advent of e-publishing. Scrolling through Austen-inspired e-books reveals any number of novellas, novelettes, anthologies, collections, and singles. They’re cropping up like ant hills in my west Texas lawn! But unlike ants, I’m thrilled because I love short stories. Always have. In fact, while my friends wrote novels for their senior theses, I wrote a collection of cowboy and equine-inspired poems and stories.
In the years since college, I’ve often been asked, “When are you going to write a novel?” Rather than tackle that thorny question--because quite frankly I don’t know the answer--let me pose another: why do I write short stories? Let me count the ways! Don’t worry. I’ll limit it to five C’s and examples from my recent collection, A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories.
1) Concision. Whether flash fiction or epic, a story should be no longer than necessary. The concise nature of short stories allows me to explore ideas that spark my imagination, yet would neither carry the weight of a novel nor sustain me through writing one. For example, short stories permitted me to experiment with fantasy elements--scraps of paper mysteriously floating in the wind in “Words in the Wind” and Darcy’s golden dreamland in “Gold, All Gold”--without elaborate explanations or world-building.
2) Craft. Short stories share the basic elements of a novel, except condensed: focused plots, limited characters, swift conflict, and (hopefully) satisfying resolution. Weaving all these into a microcosm of time and setting requires tight construction. Not including epilogues, my stories span anywhere from fifteen minutes to no more than a single day. Favorite advice? Renowned author Kurt Vonnegut said, “Start as close to the end as possible.” In “Neither Slumber Nor Sleep,” Darcy’s return to Longbourn is delayed, but we skip the intervening months to begin nearer his reunion with Elizabeth. The art of writing short fiction isn’t as easy as it looks, but it’s enormously rewarding.
3) Challenge. A well-crafted short story not only entertains, it also resonates with readers. Its effect lingers after the last page. What a challenge! Can I make the improbable convincing? Can I immerse readers in the story world so deeply that they experience unconscious suspension of disbelief? Can my characters move readers even though they don’t have the advantage of long arcs building to their resolutions? Only readers can answer these questions, but I delight in the attempt.
4) Convenience. Regardless of the craft required, by virtue of length, short stories take less time to write. I’m a slow writer to begin, made slower still by current life demands. I squeeze writing and publishing into snippets, usually totaling a weekly handful of hours. Short stories afford the gratification of actually finishing. For example, the ten pieces that comprise these first volumes of Pride & Prejudice Petite Tales are the product of four years’ effort (Volume 2 is coming this winter!). Someday perhaps there will be more time to write...
5) Careful word choice. No matter an author’s voice, short stories almost demand meticulous word selection. Language is simmered like a consommé or reduction. With its extensive vocabulary and inherent graciousness and elegance, Regency language especially lends itself to such labors. I relish the process of sculpting each sentence and polishing every paragraph until their rhythms roll. In fact, I even composed poems for some stories: Elizabeth’s verses go astray in “A Fine Stout Love” and Darcy’s poetry upends the Bennet household in “Eden Unashamed.” But you’ll have to read them to learn what happens.
Now that I’ve shared why I’m passionate about writing short stories, what are your thoughts? If you’re a writer, why do or don’t you write short stories? If you’re a reader, what do you like or not like about reading short stories? Please leave a comment and join the discussion.
(You may also want to check out the companion blog tour post at So Little Time… on 3 May that explains six reasons I enjoy reading short fiction.)
My warmest thanks to Ceri for her gracious hospitality, participating in the blog tour for A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories, and inviting me to share a guest post at Babblings of a Bookworm.
* * *
Renée Beyea holds an undergraduate writing degree from Taylor University and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary. She serves as full-time wife, mother to two sons, and ministry partner with her husband, an Anglican priest and chaplain. Her free time is devoted to crafting stories and composing poetry that delight the senses and touch the soul.
AUTHOR CONTACT and SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
* * *
Discover what happens when Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy meet fancy and fantasy in this novella-length ensemble of Regency stories.
- What if two inexplicable trails of words led to the Meryton churchyard on the same blustery morning?
- What if Darcy stumbled across suggestive lines of verse following Elizabeth’s stay at Netherfield?
- What if a rumored engagement so thoroughly shocked Lady Catherine that she could not interfere?
- What if Elizabeth learned the last man she would ever marry was the only man she could marry?
- What if every Bennet family member read the love poem Darcy intended only for his bride?
With all the intimacy and lyricism of a chamber concert, these five whimsical shorts will inspire the heart, prompt a smile, and entice readers to many happy returns.
'A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories' is available to buy now in paperback and e-book!
* * *
There are 8 copies of 'A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories' up for grabs (including up to 4 paperbacks) during the blog tour. To win, just enter the Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open to international entrants.
a Rafflecopter givea-way
* * *
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
2 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at From Milton to Pemberley
3 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
4 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at Half Agony, Half Hope
5 May: Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
6 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
7 May: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
8 May: Review & Giveaway at Delighted Reader
9 May: Review & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
10 May: Interview & Giveaway at Savvy Verse and Wit
11 May: Review & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric
12 May: Review & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
12 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie
13 May: Review & Giveaway at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
14 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
15 May: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars16 May: Review & Giveaway at Margie’s Must Reads