Monday, July 14, 2008

Short Stories, Part 2

What I'm reading: Queen of Babble gets Hitched, by Meg Cabot

What I'm writing: Chapter 8

I thought I'd share the second page of my handout from the short story workshop, with more quotes about the craft. If you missed the first page, it was Friday's post. Any favorites?

"I have written a great many stories and I still don't know how to go about it except to write it and take my chances."
~John Steinbeck

“I'm a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can't and then tries the short story which is the most demanding form after poetry. And failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing.”
~ William Faulkner

"Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short”
~ Henry David Thoreau

"I'm sorry this letter is so long, but I did not have time to make it shorter."
~Blaise Pascal (often attributed to Mark Twain)

"I try to leave out the parts that people skip."
~Elmore Leonard

"Short stories are designed to deliver their impact in as few pages as possible. A tremendous amount is left out, and a good short story writer learns to include only the most essential information."
~Orson Scott Card

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
~Thomas Jefferson

"You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money's in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed."
~Larry Niven


Anna Campbell said...

Hi Terry! Swinging over from the Bandits to see what you've been up to. You know, I'm with Faulkner! I've had to write a couple of short stories recently (when mags start waving checks in front of your eyes, who am I to say no?), but each of them was SOOOOO tough to do. Especially when it comes to getting the emotion in. With a novel, you have hundreds of pages to develop the reader's empathy with a character. With a short story it's wham, bam, thank you, ma'am! I really admire people who can do it well - it's such a skill, like painting a perfect miniature.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks for dropping by. This place isn't as busy as the Bandit's lair. I had to turn off notifications over there so I could work!

I'm trying to follow my own advice in the scene I'm writing, even though it's for a novel. Do I really HAVE to show everything from waking up to arriving at the coffee shop? No. I think all the mundane things like showering, dressing, etc., are easily filled in by readers, and there's nothing to advance the plot going on.

Congrats on the waving checks! I haven't broken the magazine market -- well, I have, but in a different way. I got a contract, and then the magazine went belly up. Maybe that's why nobody will touch my stuff!

Anna Campbell said...

Terry, the mag market is odd. And it's only in Australia and thanks to a great local publicity team for Avon. Actually it was good to do the short stories (there's only two! I'm not an expert!) because they really challenged my writing muscle.

Kathleen said...

You are so right about short story writing. When I write one, the entire thing usually comes into my mind all at once. It is somehow easier to create an entire world than just a little piece of one.
Congratulations on a very useful blog.

Terry Odell said...

Glad you're finding some of my ramblings useful, Kathleen. Feel free to invite your friends to visit.

SLING WORDS aka Joan Reeves said...

Great quotations, Terry.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Joan. Glad you enjoyed them.