Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Long and the Short of It

As I’ve mentioned before, when I started out writing I had big plans to be a writer of short stories. In fact, it was so stuck in my mind that one could either write short stories or novels, not both, that if I story I was working on exceeded a certain number of words, I’d pretty much abandon it. At the very most, if I really liked the idea, I figure out a way to break it up into a series of short stories.

I don’t know when the realization struck me that I could do more than one kind of writing -- was it when I wrote my first on-line serial? My first novel? My series of flash fiction? I have no idea. But somewhere along the line I became more focused on the story instead of the number of words it would take to tell it and I finally began to finish things.

I’ve written enough short stories and novels that I can no longer conceive of writing just one or the other. A short story is like a brisk walk where you’re in a hurry to get from point A to point B, a novel is more like a leisurely stroll where you take your time and stop to chat with friends you meet.

You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money's in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.
Larry Niven

Short stories are, well, short. They deliver their promise in as few pages as possible. There’s a lot that’s left out, or left to the reader’s imagination, because you can only afford to include the most essential information. Your time-frame is limited as well as your cast of characters, and you should also limit the number of points of view you use.

The sheer length of the novel allows you to take your time with your story - and by that I mean the time-line of the story itself - and there’s room for a larger cast of characters who can be more fully developed. There’s also room for plots and sub-plots as well as multiple points of view.

In conclusion, they both have their good and bad points. I have spent way too much time in a futile attempt to find the exact quote, but I think it was Mark Twain who advised to simply keep going until your story is finished, then stop. Smart man, that Twain. ;-)

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,337 words total
Up by about 100 words from last week, which is a good thing because it’s zeros across the board for everything else. Life got really busy for me and it’s a miracle I even got my blog posts done. These things happen. All I can do is hope that this week is a little easier.

Goodreads Reviews
0 words total
Sad to say I didn’t even have time for reading, let alone reviewing. Poor George (my Kindle) is going to think I abandoned him. And that stack of tree books in my office isn’t getting any smaller.

0 pages total
See above statements about life and no time. Although I did talk to the daughter to see if she’d be interested in doing a cover ...

New Words
0 words total
Have to admit, this one kind of hurt, especially after I did so well last week. But this is a new week, so new words, right? I’ve got two WIPs on the go, three if you count Elemental Spirit, so all I need to do is carve out a bit of time.

This Week’s Goals:
New words on Wandering Wizards
New words on Mercy
Figure out how to start Elemental Spirit
Bonus blog post

Well, that was easy, I just had to leave up my goals from last week. LOL

This week’s excerpt is once again from my new story, Mercy For the Wizard. And yes, the name of the wizard school is Somekinda Magic School, because I haven’t thought of a proper name yet :

"I'm telling you, there's no way we can get into trouble for this," Peter insisted. He was the ringleader of the three boys, tall and skinny with perpetually messy brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. He was the one who was forever coming up with the brilliant ideas that were forever getting them in trouble.

"Yeah," Terron agreed. He was short and stocky, his head a riot of blonde curls, his eyes a sea grey. "It's the Winter Solstice, Master Wynnford can't possibly get angry with us for giving him a present."

"Besides, he'll be too busy enjoying his present to pay us any mind," Peter added with a snicker. "I don't know," Seymour said doubtfully. He was the same age as the others, but he had been at the school the longest. His bright blue eyes looked from one friend to the other and he tugged on one ginger lock of hair, a habit he had when he was agitated.

They were meeting in his room, as usual, in the huge castle come wizard school. It was late at night and the castle was quiet. Of course most of the students had gone home for the solstice celebrations, but there were still a handful, as well as a few servants lurking about. But that didn't take away from the excitement of sneaking through the corridors after curfew.

"C'mon Seymour, we can't do it without you. Don't you want Master Wynnford to be happy?"

Now there was a loaded question. Who wouldn't want the Master of Somekinda Magic School to be happy? A happy master meant a more lenient master. At least that's what the theory was. No one had ever seen Master Wynnford happy so it was only speculation.

"Tell me again why you think this will work," Seymour requested.

"Georgie overheard the scullery maid talking to the dishwasher about what a shame it was that Master Wynnford's betrothed ran away with a soldier and that he was too handsome to spend the rest of his life in misery and if he'd get his head out of his nether regions, maybe he'd see there was more than one apple on the tree."

Seymour snorted. "The scullery maid has been lusting after Master Wynnford for as long as I've been coming to this school." Which had been eight years. When he first showed signs of magical aptitude his parents couldn't pack him off fast enough. Though he was welcome home for visits, it just wasn't the same. And over the years the visits became fewer and fewer.

"So you think if we conjure up a woman for Master Wynnford it'll sweeten his disposition and he'll relax the rules."

"And maybe this year we'll finally have the spring festival like they do everywhere else," Terron put in.

"Seems like a lot of trouble to go to," Seymour hedged. "There's a lot that could go wrong."

"That's why we need your help," Peter said eagerly, sensing that the other boy was already half won over to their cause. "You've got more power than any of us."

Seymour looked from one excited face to the other. He thought about the Solstice break, that had just started, stretching out before them. He thought about the long days they had to look forward to, copying texts for the library. He thought about Master Wynnford and how kind he'd been to him when he first arrived here confused and frightened. Master Wynnford deserved to be happy.

His shoulders slumped in defeat.

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