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

 

Porch Bandits & Christmas

Christmas shopping has gone online, and delivery trucks jam the roads, zipping from porch to porch dropping off the goodies and gifts for all the good boys and girls. But there’s always the pesky porch bandit to ruin the stew.

There are traps, hidden cameras, and shotguns to use, but in Christmas Creek, Sheriff Brad Wing decides to set his own trap.

Who will he catch and what surprises await him?

This Christmas, Mimi Barbour and her group of merry writers have a special treat for you. What’s more fun than 18 short and fun stories centering on the Christmas spirit, loving, giving, and adventure? Treat yourself to 18 Christmas cookies while snacking on Christmas Shorts [quickie short stories from NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Authors].

My Christmas Creek Romance series is romantic and full of surprises, like a runaway sleigh on a wintry day. Every story weaves itself in a magical and unexpected direction, full of Christmas spirit, small-town hijinks, and love in the frosty air. Deck the Hearts, Book #1 appears in Love, Christmas: Songs of the Heart, and A Christmas Creek Carol, Book #3 is in Love Christmas: Movies You Love. And of course, A Christmas Creek Caper, Book #5 is in this year’s set Christmas Shorts. (Her Christmas Chance, Book #2 and Kitty, It’s Cold Outside, Book #4 make up the rest of Christmas Creek with more to come in coming years.)

Rachelle Ayala’s Christmas Creek Romance Series