Several years ago, I bought a 1970 Edition Writer's Digest book titled "Handbook of Short Story Writing." This small book gives practical advice on the how-to's of:
Ideas, Characters, Dialogue, Plotting, Viewpoint, The Scene, Description, Flashback, Transition, Conflict, Revision, and Marketing.
With the complete guide, one would think a budding short story writer would soon learn the knack of writing decent stories, and perhaps one day turn into Eudora Welty. You remember her, don't you? I recently found another treasure at my local Half-Price Book Store titled "A Curtain of Green and Other Stories," by Eudora Welty. The first printing was in 1941 and the book has been reprinted many times. Her works are taught in college English courses.
"Curtain of Green" contains seventeen short stories, ranging in length from twelve pages to twenty-five pages. In case you're wondering the exact length of a true short story, her stories probably can be considered the watermark.
The titles of her stories in "Curtain" are creations in themselves: "Lily Daw and the Three Ladies," "Old Mr. Marblehall," "Petrified Man," and "Death of a Traveling Salesman,"—to name a few.
You didn't know Eudora Welty wrote "Death of a Traveling Salesman?" She did—in 1930. And how many times has that twenty-five-page story been read, and re-read, and studied, and turned into a stage play? She was born in 1909 and died in 2001, went to college but returned home to live out her days in the home she was born in. She never married, but was said to be a "dreamy" sort of girl. I believe this "dreamy" characteristic came about because she was creating stories in her head.
We've all done that, haven't we? Looked dreamy? Or maybe in a trance?
I am no Eudora Welty, nor do I wish to be. But I value the short story more because of her talent, greatness, and influence.
These days, I'm turning more to writing shorter fiction. Call them what you will—short stories, short fiction, mini-novels, or novellas—each one contains the same elements as any piece of fiction.
In this busy world we live in, readers must often cram in a few pages here, a few pages there. The short story--or novella, etc.--becomes a godsend for a quick satisfying story to ponder.
Here is one example you may download, if you wish.
The story goes back to the original Cameron male, Ryan Cameron, who becomes the patriarch of the Cameron Family of Texas.
A short while ago, I wrote four "Dime Novels." These are around 25,000 words each, and each has a Jimmy Thomas cover. Of all my books, these four Dime novels at 99cents have been a very successful adventure.
In the Prairie Rose Publications anthology titled Cowboy Cravings, my short story titled
"Starr Bright" is one of the offerings.
Next up for me? A mail-order bride trilogy titled Trinity Hill Brides. As of this moment, the trilogy is almost complete.
I enjoy writing shorter fiction, now, but the full-length novel is still my favorite.
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