This week I was a guest blogger on Romance Junkies. I wrote about the differences in short stories and my first ‘FREE READ’. You can visit my post live or read below.
There are two natures to the Short Story: The Independent and The Companion.
The Independent is a self-contained universe. The story requires all world-building to happen within its narrative. Everything that is known is revealed.The End is truly The End of the story.
The Companion stands on its own weak foundations while relying on a larger story for its structure. The Companion was an outlet for authors. All the details and scenes that were cut from the novel for pacing’s sake could be harvested into a short story. The Companion Short is challenged to fit within the confines of being both worthy of standing alone while referencing the parent story. Here the author faces the temptation to write too much. It is tempting to include every character description, every back story; to include the complete history because the writer wants the reader to know what is happening. It is a very tempting trap. If the writer crosses into ‘Too-Much-Information’, he will bore the reader that is familiar with the referenced work and confuse the novice.
The current trend is to write short stories with the purpose of releasing them as ‘FREE READS’. ( I am guilty of this) The ‘free read’ is a phenomenon that matured with ebooks. Intentionally writing a short story as marketing targets two distinct audiences: The Established Fan and the New Recruit. The Established Fan will read the Companion Short because hopefully they enjoyed the full length story and want more by the author. The New Recruit is taking a chance on a ‘free’ story.
I encountered this unique challenge when I decided to write ‘Chaos Children’. It follows chronologically after my debut novel “Solstice Night”. My novel is a paranormal romance set in present day Detroit. I spent a lot of time developing my characters, their backstories and what I refer to as the ‘rules’ for my world. Even though the supernatural being in my book exist in the ‘real world’, certain parts of their physiology and history had to be written to exist within our world. Most of the decisions I made, did not end up in the final draft. ‘Chaos Children’ let me refine what I started in my notes and drafts. I pushed my characters a bit more and I didn’t feel obligated to write a ‘happy-ending’ the same way I do writing a full length novel.
Writing ‘Chaos Children’ helped me to analyze my story both as a new reader and someone with familiarity. It was an interesting experience being re-introduced a world I built.
You may download a free copy of ‘Chaos Children’ in multiple ebook formats at Smashwords.