I am looking for advice/opinions on short stories. I am putting together a short story compilation e-book and I’m not sure how many words is acceptable. I don’t mean that I want to abide by any literary rules but rather I wondered what’s the least amount of words a reader would deem acceptable, given they will have parted with money for the book?
I am still some way off actually publishing the stories so I’m thinking ahead a little.
I don’t know if there is such an expectation but thought I would check beforehand. I wouldn’t like to gain a reputation for short-changing people.
Does anyone have any experience of short story e-books, whether it is as a writer or a reader?
I would love to hear from you.
I have completed the challenge that I set for myself – to complete a short story for entry in The Bridport Prize competition. As I mentioned in my previous post, when I read the instructions properly, I discovered that the word count was a maximum of 5000, not a compulsory amount of 5000 words. I trimmed some superfluous details from the story and it comes in at 4015 words now. I’m quite proud of that. I know this won’t be the best work I will ever do. I know it’s only the beginning but I’m glad I achieved what I set out to do. Now to move onto the next project – publish an e-book this year. Onwards and upwards!
I no longer believe in writer’s block.
I have mentioned recently that I had a 5000 word short story to write within a few weeks (1168 words and 13 days, 1 hour and 34 minutes to go!) and I have been struggling a bit in the last few days. I started with a short short story that I had thought was complete. It had a beginning, middle and an end. I liked it as it was but it was only 1500 words. So, I set myself the challenge of bulking it up to 5000 words for The Bridport Prize competition. I didn’t want to simply insert flowery language with a view to increasing the word count. I knew I would be rumbled instantly. Judges aren’t stupid. I knew I had to add to the story. I had to build in some more twists and turns. However, over the last couple of days, I have been struggling with a slight blockage. I say slight because some words trickled through but nothing of any significance. Rather than giving up, I have found a way to dislodge the blockage for good.
Here’s what I did:
* I opened a new Word document and summarised what had happened so far in the three sections; beginning, middle and end. While I was doing this, questions popped into my head, leading to new ideas. Blockage dislodged. Ta-da!
* The other thing that helped was to completely remove myself from the computer and do something else. I went to make sandwiches for my husband and kids’ lunch tomorrow. While my focus was away from staring at a computer screen I got another idea.
I have read that last piece of advice before somewhere and I’m pleased to report that it is true. I recommend that you try the Word document summary though. It worked for me 🙂
I haven’t tried this suggestion yet but I will if I ever experience a severe blockage:
Take the ‘create crap’ challenge:
Despite the name, the ‘create crap’ challenge is not about lowering the quality of what you’ll do it’s about UPPING the quality of what you have in the world by actually releasing something rather than drowning what you have to share in a giant shroud of blockedness.
The first step in the create crap challenge is to remember that you do NOT have to release your crap attempts to the world. It’s an unblocking technique to use for yourself.
From Marianne Cantwell – author of Free Range Humans
A leaflet fell out of my magazine for The Bridport Prize. Could it be a sign? I’m taking it as one! Where is the harm in entering this competition? There’s none at all. I am a fledgling writer and I know the odds of me winning are slim but not as slim as if I don’t enter at all – and herein lies the challenge.
For short stories, the required word count is 5000 words. At the rate I write, I would struggle to write a new story in 27 days. Oh yes, I forgot to say, the deadline is 31 May.
So, the plan is to use a short story I have already written. I have the ideal story in mind. As I write this, the aforementioned story only contains 1500 words so I have to fatten this bird up. 27 days to write an additional 3500 words. Eek!
Not to worry, I’m relishing the challenge. I may not win but I’m going to have fun trying. If nothing else, it will give me practice in discipline and working to a deadline. Perhaps this is just the boost I needed.
Self-imposed deadline coming up next month for the completion of my first short story compilation. Watch this space!