Writing Short Stories by @Author_Carmen DeSousa

I’m a fan of Wikipedia for general research for my books and short stories, not quotable text. It’s a great place to start, as it usually has a great compilation of information from other sources. Often, when I Google a question, Wikipedia is the first page to pop up. So I tend to begin my search on the most “clicked on” page, and then I dig deeper based on my findings. In the case of my mysteries, especially where the cause of death and ways to die are an essential part of the story, I seek out scientific journals and experts in that specific field. There, that’s my disclosure. On to my blog post. 🙂

Writing Short Stories

Recently, I had a quick question on the popularity of short stories. I agreed with Wikipedia until I read … “Sometimes, authors who do not have the time or money to write a novella or novel decide to write short stories instead…” — Wikipedia

Say, WHAT???

Umm … wrong! How on earth does a short story cost less? Most authors spend the same dollar amount on their cover, and it doesn’t cost anything to upload it to Amazon. Time … maybe … but even that seems silly, as authors who write short stories, usually write many of them. I think authors write short stories because they enjoy writing short stories, especially in between large projects or while waiting for their editor or publisher to finish reading their current project.

“Short stories date back to oral storytelling traditions which originally produced epics such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey circa 7thor 8thcentury” — Wikipedia, again (I didn’t see the need to research further.)

The Power of the Short Story

Charles Dickens and Washington Irving — who were famous for novels and biographies — wrote short stories and, of course, Edgar Allan Poe argued that a literary work should be short enough for a reader to finish in one sitting. And yet, when I went looking for advertising, I found it almost impossible to find a website that was willing to promote my short stories … even if I were willing to pay the same amount as I would to advertise a full novel. I also noticed many publishers refuse to publish short stories, which as far as money goes, I can understand that. They would have to shell out money for a cover for little return.

And now for the craziest thought, considering what Wikipedia said about money. I wrote my short stories, knowing I was going to give them away. Yep. I wrote my first short, The Pit Stop (This Stop Could be Life or Death), as an exercise in “pantsing” versus “plotting” and to have fun with my readers, which a lot of them happened to be authors. I wrote five hundred words a week on my website, and then asked readers where we should go next. When I finished, I informed them I’d publish it and pay tribute to my top contributors.

But then something happened! My lovely readers demanded more — I love it when that happens. Per readers’ requests, I wrote The Depot (When Life and Death Cross Tracks). And then, based on those two short stories — again per readers’ demands — I wrote a follow-up novel, The Library (Where Life Checks Out).

And with no awesome book advertising, but because of word of mouth from some great readers, The Pit Stop and The Depot hit #1 in Mystery Short Stories and spent plenty of time in the top 100 in the last few years. When I received my rights back from my publisher, I had to re-upload them. Again they the hit #1 and #2 spots! The Pit Stop is still available as a free download, but I decided to include The Depot with it AND its follow-up novel, The Library, so readers wouldn’t happenstance on The Library and miss the set up.

My Thoughts on Short Stories

An average movie is one and a half to two hours long, and yet, it can still convey a full life — from birth to death — of a character. We can solve a ten-year-old murder mystery, or view a first date as it matures into marriage and kids. So why wouldn’t I like a quick escape when I’m sitting at the DMV, waiting in the doctor’s office, or a hundred other places where we waste hours of our time? The answer is: I do like that. In fact, I love it! I’ve read many short stories on car trips across the state, flights, and waiting while my car gets serviced.

Short stories are a great way to meet an author without a long-term commitment or a nice release when you need just a little escape before going to bed, since there’s no risk of staying up too late to finish the story, as most short stories take less than an hour to read.

Well, that’s it. Just my thoughts on why I write and read short stories. And so you know, I would never think to compare myself to the “greats” I mentioned above; they were just my point that short stories can be great and are an art. I have a long way to go, but my short stories do have hundreds of reviews averaging four-plus stars. So if you want to try one on for size, you can download The Pit Stop (This Stop Could be Life or Death) and The Depot (When Life and Death Cross Tracks) absolutely FREE from your favorite retailer. I hope you enjoy the quick escape from reality!

American Haunts by Carmen DeSousa

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Thank you for reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. I promise you, I will answer. If you’re curious about what I write, please visit one of my author pages. I offer lots of information about my novels and short stories. And hey, I’ll even give you a couple free full-length novels just for stopping by.

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As always, happy reading, friends,

Carmen DeSousa

 

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A passionate novel of love, betrayal, and obsession, She Belongs to Me will have you falling in love and wondering if you can trust anyone right up to the last page.

Charlotte police officer Jordan Monroe is used to being in control. Ever since his father died, he has provided for his mother and sisters and even hired his two brothers-in-law to help run his successful construction company. On a chance business trip, however, he meets the one person who throws his life into a whirlwind–Jaynee.

Jaynee has lived a tragic life and has sworn off all men. That is until a rugged southern gentleman lands in her seating area, refusing to take no for an answer. From the moment they meet, Jordan sweeps her off her feet, assuring her that happiness exists. But can she really escape her past?

Five years later, Jordan finds Jaynee on their back porch with a gunshot wound to the head. While Jaynee lies in a coma, Jordan has to go back to their beginning and figure out what went wrong. Did he push his wife to the edge, or has her past come back to haunt them?

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Home Learning by @_NancyRadke

Parents have experienced Home Learning now, and I hope they will not forsake it. When children come home from school with “homework,” parents are expected to teach it because the teachers couldn’t teach it in their large classrooms that have a vast spectrum of abilities among the students. If you want your kid to survive, you need to home-school. Just remember Dr. Ben Carson, the outstanding brain surgeon whose mother couldn’t read, but she made Ben and his brother read to her every day. Even that form of Home Learning had a great result.

Home Learning

Why teach your children to read at home, before they go to school? They have so many things to learn, but to wait until they go to school to learn to read is not the best practice. They are eager to learn everything at age 4 and this eagerness is lost over time. Plus, once they start school, they have so many things infringing on their attention and learning time, that they can’t learn as well as they can in the one-on-one home environment. The older the child, the harder it is to teach him.

The Ideal Age for Home Learning

Children are at the ideal age to learn to read when they are just turning four years old. This is when they are excited to learn and are able to absorb vast amounts of information effortlessly, making it the ideal time to teach them. Like new plants, they drink in the information as fast as you can present it. Often as you teach an older four-year-old, the three-year-old sibling will be picking it up at the same time. I have had parents report this to me many times. These children can be reading at a 3rd to 4th grade level when they enter first grade.

To help parents teach a 4-year-old to read, I put together the “Raising Giants Free Reading Course.” It consists of 4 videos and a printout of lessons to follow, then suggestions of books to read. When downloaded, it looks simple. How can that possibly teach a child to read? But if you listen to the videos and learn the sounds and the patterns, you will be able to teach your child in a surprisingly short time. One father said after a number of lessons, that he was standing on the street corner with his 4-year-old daughter when he realized she was reading off the signs and the names on the stores around them.

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Christmas On Cougar Mountain