Short Fiction Deserves Love, Too
By Louisa Bacio
“It’s harder to write a complete short story than a full-length novel.”
Have you heard that mantra yet? Personally, I’m not sure if it’s a fallacy. Sure, writing short can be difficult, but not impossible.
A full-length novel, which in my case usually is 50,000 words, usually takes me at least four months to write. A novella often can be written in a month, if I’m really pushing it. And, if totally inspired, a quickie short story such as “Bed of the Dead” flows in a few days, and then I need additional time for edits.
But honing that craft of writing short takes time. One writer-friend, Nikki Prince, challenges herself with word limits, and now wants to finish a full-length novel.
When I was younger, the longer, the better. I didn’t develop an appreciation for the short until I grew older. Now, with time limits stretched thin, a tale that can be completed in one reading is an added pleasure. According to one classic master of the short, Edgar Allan Poe, a short story should be able to be read in one sitting: “Poe defined this as being from one-half hour to one or two hours. Nowadays, with television, radio, playstations and Ipod for alternative entertainment, this may seem like a long time. But the one sitting rule is still a good one, even if that one sitting is five minutes.” (http://www.pittsfordschools.org/webpages/gwiener/index.cfm?subpage=37276)
At the recent Authors After Dark convention in New Orleans, Suz Jay mentioned she was surprised to see that “Bed of the Dead” was “only 10 pages.” Then she started reading, and “There’s a lot in those 10 pages!”
Word choice and pacing counts even more than in a longer piece. Take the challenge yourself. Read “Bed of the Dead,” and consider submitting a short story to anthology. It’s a whole new world out there.
When Chloe places an Online ad for some kinky sex, she doesn’t expect to hook up with a vampire coven. But sleeping in the bed of the dead isn’t all she expected. Instead of a cold lay, she craves some warm flesh. Fortunately, gorgeous surfer-boy Seth is more than willing to share his humanity.
Louisa Bacio is the author of five erotic novels, including the paranormal series The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf, and numerous steamy short stories.
Bacio enjoys soaking up the sun in Southern California, and spending time with her family. In addition to writing and editing, Bacio teaches college courses in English, journalism, film studies and popular culture.