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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Nature of Short Fiction by #CeliaYeary #RebeccaJVickery

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 where she was born. 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 Cattlemen's Ball-FREE-16 pages  
CY_TheCattlemensBall_free version.pdf

The story goes back to the original Cameron male, Ryan Cameron, who becomes the patriarch of the Cameron Family of Texas.
I wrote four "Dime Novels" for Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery. These are around 25,000 words each, and each has a Jimmy Thomas cover. Of all my books, these four Dime novels have been a very successful adventure.

In a short story anthology titled Rawhide and Roses, I have a short story titled “A Gentle Touch.” This anthology is an independent production, and all proceeds go to a horse sanctuary.


Since the Dime Novels were so successful, I wrote a Mail Order Bride Trilogy titled “Trinity Hill:A Texas Mail Order Bride Series)

What about you? Do you like a short story, or do you always choose full-length novels?
Thanks for visiting.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary
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  1. I have heard fiction writers described as daydreamers and night thinkers. It was certainly true of me. I've mentioned before that, as much as Pop knew I wanted to major in English and write fiction, he gave me no alternative but to go into something medical. So I became a nurse. But we made a mutual agreement that, if I became a nurse, he would pay for writing courses for me--and he stayed true to his word. I took Short Story Writing and Writing A Novel through Writers' Digest School for writing. I am very familiar with their publications and my shelves are filled with them. I have to say most of them were crammed with excellent information--a few, not so much.
    Short stories are difficult to write because every word has to count to move that story forward. I love short story writing. The hardest thing for me in novel writing is to keep the momentum going in order to keep the reader dedicated to getting to that next page.
    I don't have the Rawhide and Roses anthology, but now I have to get that thing.
    I enjoy both short stories and novels. I like anthologies because, just like watching a series on Netflix, I like to binge on short stories with a common theme. But when I want to really dig into a book, I enjoy reading a novel and getting to know the characters more deeply than I can in a short story--and I find subplots in novels so intriguing.
    As always, my friend, I enjoyed your blog, and I wish you all the very best.

    1. Do pick up Rawhide and Roses. I have to admit, a review gave it a good review, but she gave individual reviews to each of the stories. Two of us got Fives..my story--A Gentle Touch. I hope to get this in some other anthology one day. None of us in this anthology to tied up legally--I just haven't found a good spot for A Gentle Touch. Thanks so much, Sarah..at least your father did pay for those writing lessons..and wow, look at you now!

  2. Celia, I apologize for being late to read your excellent post. I don't know how I missed it earlier. I had the good fortune of hearing Eudora Welty give a program at the U. of Tennessee, Chattanooga in 1980. In spite of her fame, she was a most unassuming lady. She sat onstage in a simple pink polyester dress and white flat-heeled sandals and read from her work, then took questions. Because of her hearing difficulty, a young male student repeated audience questions for her. When one questioner attempted to impress everyone with his interpretation of one of her characters, she smiled sweetly and said in her soft southern drawl, "Well, we in the South know a freak when we see one." I thought she was old at the time but I just did the math, and she was seventy-one. Like you, I write both short stories and novels and Miss Welty is one of my idols. Thanks for reminding me of her today.

    1. I just knew you'd be a fan of Eudora Welty. Probably she is the Queen of short fiction. From your description, it sounds like she had a backbone!
      Oh, to be famous...Sigh.
      Thanks for dropping by--you know I always look for you comment.


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