If you ask me, Flash Fiction pretty much defines itself: written and read in a flash. There are purists who insist on a FF story of less than 100 words. There are other practitioners who make 1500 words as the final dividing line. (I know that sounds like a mighty long flash, but I can [...]~ read more ~
Posts in category YA
I spend most of my time as an author plotting and writing novels. But I originally cut my writer teeth crafting short stories. Along the way, I’ve learned a few tricks about the differences between the long haul of writing a novel and the sprint of writing a short story. Below are some tricks of the trade.
Both a novel and short story require well-drawn, compelling characters. But in a novel, the main character, despite his or her imperfections, tends to be likeable in some way. Or if they’re not particularly likeable at the start, they have transformed themselves by the end so that the reader is rooting for them. Even the villain will have some likeable qualities. Because a novel is so long, if a reader doesn’t care about the main characters, they’ll probably stop caring about the story as well.~ read more ~
I could tell you about how writing short stories saved my life, how writing short stories is the best revenge on those who’ve done you wrong, how maddening and time-consuming it is to write short stories that work, how I can write half a novel in the time it takes me to craft a good short story, how I once wrote a story called “Bocky Bocky” which has the actress Uma Thurman as a very weird character who insists on folding a drowned man into various yoga positions, how a Los Angeles Times book reviewer, in a generally favorable review of my story collection My Chaos Theory, speculated that it was only a matter of time before I would be contacted by Uma’s “people,” and how I’ve been nervously living under the Sword of Damocles ever since.
Instead, though, I’d like to share some of the Don’ts of Writing Short Stories from my dear friend Jerome Stern’s wonderful book Making Shapely Fiction. Jerry died fifteen years ago but he lives on in my heart and in the hearts of everyone who knew him—and in the pages of MSF. And if you don’t make it a point to get your hands on a copy, well I feel sorry for you. I really do.~ read more ~
Authors play dress-up when they write short stories. It’s the truth; I wouldn’t lie to you about this.
Most of the time, I sit around wearing my “paranormal fantasy” costume. If a book has my name on it, chances are, paranormal fantasy. It might be psychic powers, or elemental beings, or ghosts—but there will definitely be a little woo-woo involved.
If you ask me to write a short story, though, boy howdy. Experimental fusion fiction! Mysteries! High fantasy! Paranormal romance! And just recently, the most twisted contemporary fairy tale retelling ever. As a writer, being invited to contribute a short story means it’s playtime.~ read more ~
What do Moe, Tabitha, and Elodie have in common? Not a whole lot. In fact, pretty much nothing, if you were to ask any of them before the day they meet up in, of all places, Shoplifters Anonymous.
These are girls from all different walks of life. Tabitha is a “typical” pampered princess, Moe a so-called rebel living with her Aunt, and Elodie is the new girl in town, still struggling with changes in her family. They go to the same school, even take some of the same classes, but never, ever would have talked to each other if it weren’t for the one thing they share: stealing stuff. Whether it’s a stick of gum or a designer bag, the girls soon find themselves meeting secretly and challenging each other to take stuff. And as it gets more and more intense, they’re finding that they are — holy crap — maybe even bonding.~ read more ~
I really really loved POISON by Bridget Zinn. Like, a lot. I don’t really know how to put all my loviness into a comprehensive review. So I thought instead I’d make you a list. Here are the Top 5 Things I Love About POISON:
1. The protagonist, Kyra, has a companion animal. And it’s not a horse or a fierce werewolf or a clever cat. It’s a pig. A magical pig. A PIG.
2. My favorite series as a young reader was the ENCHANTED FOREST CHRONICLES by Patricia C. Wrede. Kyra would so get along with Wrede’s heroine, Cimorene.
3. Pie. Kyra loves pie. I love pie. Pie.
4. This heroine is a scientist. She makes potions, and, yes, poisons. She is really really good at it, too, which is part of what got her in trouble.~ read more ~
I’m so impressed with the writing of Alaya Dawn Johnson. So impressed. Her fluid, literary style compliments the story of THE SUMMER PRINCE so well, it’s hard for me to even try to describe it. But, trust me, it’s gorgeous. And then there’s the story:
In the city of Palmeres Três, a king is regularly elected by the people, and then killed as he chooses the new queen. They say that the Summer King has no real political power, especially because he is usually under 30 — a waka. The community leaders, Aunties, who tend to be over 100, distrust the young people, think that they are frivolous and irresponsible. So when Enki is elected — a boy from the poorest part of Palmeres Três, a boy whose flirtatious, cheeky style is even threatening to the women in power — June Costa and her best friend Gil know their world is about to be turned upside down.~ read more ~
I found myself describing this book to friends while I was reading it. Conversations went like this:
Me: I’m reading this super fun book!
Me: It’s this book about this girl who is an artist and there’s a boy she likes and he seems too good to be true and then there’s the fact that she has pretty intense hypochondria and her mom has this really weird cancer and –
Friend: I thought you said it was fun?
Me: Oh, yeah, I know all this serious stuff is, like, tragic, but, I swear, it’s HILARIOUS.
So that’s the lowdown. THE SYMPTOMS OF MY INSANITY by Mindy Raf is sneaky. With all the awful stuff going on in the protagonist, Izzy’s, life, she has this fantastic, snarky attitude that manages to find these sweet silver linings.~ read more ~
I spend a lot of time giving advice to young writers. It’s cool, I like doing it, and I really don’t mind spending time with newbies discussing the business and the art. But I thought it might be useful to everyone if I put some of my favorite stuff here in one post.
I find that I often link a series of the same places over and over. There are a lot of resources out there on the web, and yeah, I could just tell y’all to go Google it, but while Google brings up some great links, I also have my own personal favorites. So here you go, EKA’s Favorite Writing Resources:~ read more ~
I love the Texas Library Association Annual Conference. Love. It. TLA is one of my favorite events of the year. Sometimes I describe it as Christmas for book lovers. What’s not to love? Signings! Advance copies of your favorite authors’ books! Plus, as an author, meeting your readers and librarians and teachers is absolutely a highlight. I didn’t take TOO many pictures, but I’ve scavanged quite a few from Facebook and Twitter that I’d love to share with you here.
I rode up to Fort Worth from Austin with P.J. Hoover, K.A. Holt, and Jessica Lee Anderson. It was a long but fun trip, in which I totally got in trouble for cracking open Slim Jims. Hey, it’s perfect road trip food, right?!
That evening, after a fantastic party hosted by Guys Read, John Scieszka and various publishers, K.A. Holt, Jo Whittemore, and I headed out to fill our bellies. And, you know, generally get into trouble. I’m pretty sure our waiter only hated us a little.~ read more ~