I’ve been working on short stories lately, as I’ve found a few places to submit them to.
One of the stories is liberally termed short fiction, as I suspect it could take up to 10,000 words. I know short fiction can be even longer than this, but usually my stories end at around 1,200 words. If they go longer, they’ll usually finish around 3,500 which is an interesting pattern to note.
I haven’t written short stories for ages, even though I’ve had a measure of success with them. I’ve had stories accepted for Quadrant and Horror magazines, Heartland (which I think is now defunct), Scope (the magazine for the Fellowship of Australian Writers Queensland) and three of my stories got into a book format; a short story anthology called Unspeakable Crimes. There are a couple more I can’t think of, because I published these tales under my maiden name ‘Delia Martin’ as I wasn’t married yet. I’ll have been married for fifteen years this August so it boggles me how much time it’s been since I’ve submitted work for publishing. Especially since I was fairly successful. I’ll blame my ignorance at the time, as I didn’t understand a writing career is dependant on a cumulative effect. Right now I can only look back and say “If only”, because I have to start from scratch again.
Thankfully I’m not disheartened.
So I’m writing some short pieces because I have ideas that would be hard-pressed as a novel. The longer one is science-fiction, a little more hardcore sci-fi than I usually write, and it’s forcing me to reference all sorts of scientific material–from the periodic table to the workings of a data chip processor. Most of the time I write in the information and then end up deleting it out not long after. I’m better being vague and making stuff up. I’m writing so far into the future that it’s anybody’s guess anyway. I just need to be credible.
Breaking Bad is a beautiful demonstration of credibility VS real life. For those unfamiliar with the television show, there were a few scenes that were debunked by Mythbusters (another TV show founded on science). It didn’t matter that Breaking Bad was found to be scientifically incorrect, it was credible at the time. When it’s said truth is stranger than fiction, I think it applies to all those connections that are made in real life that would seem corny if read in a book. Connections are neat, but I like the cataclysmic ones–the ones that cause a domino effect. Things going terribly, dramatically wrong feels more credible than things going amazingly, wonderfully right.
That’s great news if you’re a writer of dystopian fiction. Like me.