Any good athletic trainer will tell you to mix it up. Fitness isn’t about doing the same thing every day. If you always run, get on a bike or go swimming. Writing is very similar. Mixing it up stretches and strengthens your creative muscles, while enabling you to experiment with voices, styles and genres. If a novel is a marathon and a novella is 10K, short stories are sprints and, sometimes, tricky obstacle courses. Writing a lot of short stories is boot camp.
I LIVE in writer boot camp.
I write a lot of short stories. For years I’ve posted short stories on my other website. (Yes, I have another website.) It’s the site associated with SweetCopy, my freelance writing business. The short stories are up there to entertain my friends and freelance clients.
Writer boot camp has been very good for me. I’ve learned a lot about dialog and characters, and I’ve been able to experiment with a variety of genres — from cozy mysteries and detective procedurals to ghost stories and science fiction. I’m finally doing something with my short fiction. Mardibooks has included seven of my stories in their new collection entitled “Unexpected Tales.” It will be available in August as an ebook. These are not part of my Candy’s Monsters series, but some of the characters are pretty monstrous.
When I write a short story, I often give myself an assignment and once in a great while I take that assignment, or inspiration, from someone else. I stumbled on the editor of Time Yarns books through LinkedIn. After reading, and enjoying, one of their indie science fiction collections, I paid attention to the intriguing challenge she posted to one of the LinkedIn writer groups: write a story with both time travel AND a cat.
It was irresistible.
The resulting story, “Locard’s Tale” is a mystery involving a cat and, yes, time travel. You’ll have to wait until early 2013 to read it. I’ll keep you posted.