Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Short & the Indie Author

If you read my blog yesterday, you know my daughter is getting married today, so today's blog will be about shorts.



1. having little length; not long.
2. having little height; not tall: a short man.
3. extending or reaching only a little way: a short path.
4. brief in duration; not extensive in time: a short wait.
5. brief or concise, as writing.
In literary terms short means, having little length as in short story, or short excerpt. Smaller than the whole but still a whole in itself. Confused yet?
A short story generally has fewer than 7,500 words. Usually they may run a couple hundred at best. My latest release "The Author Business: A Practical Guide to the Business of Being a Self-Published Author." Stands a little over 3K words which if it were fiction it would be considered a short story.

Short-Shorts, no not hot pants or miniskirts, are anything under the 1,000 word count. Short-shorts and short stories, and novels length fiction have several things in common like setting, plot, point of view, characters and a theme.
The big difference is the amount of words used. Subplots, many more characters, and possibly varying points of views go into full length novels.
Some authors feel that their short stories have no value because they are, well...short. This is not true. I won my first writing award back in 2000, by writing humorous short fiction.
My novel, "The Sacrificial Lamb" started out as a short story of under 1,000 words. Although publishers for years refused to print short stories banishing them to specialty magazines, times are changing with the boon of self-publishing. On sites such as Smashwords, there are thousands of short-shorts, and short stories just waiting for someone who loves a quick read at a cheap price. This is the key to writing this way. Fewer words have more impact. The use of stronger verbs, sparse adjectives and adverbs all contribute to a tighter shorter story. When an author does this right, you feel just as satisfied as if you'd read 300 pages of a novel.
Some shorts, like my nonfiction and fiction story mentioned above may go on to being full lengths of 50K-70K words. Why not? The foundation for the book is laid.
So if you're making a short long or a long short, the advantage is yours. Personally, I have a hard time writing shorts because there is so many twists and turns I want to put into a story such as subplots, extra characters, I like the details etc. but that's just me.

I'll share the opening 500 words of "The Sacrificial Lamb" with you. It is published under my nom de plume, Jolee Morriss and is suspense/southern fiction.

Olin hadn’t heard her outside his oak paneled study while he yelled at Charlie.  The commotion was god awful.  She peered through the crack in the door.
Olin stood there with his hands on his hips.  “So you think yer all big and growed up now, huh?”

Charlie’s forelock fell into his eyes and he brushed it away.  “You got no right to treat us this way and you ain’t touching either of us again. ‘Specially not her ever ag’in!  Ya hear?”

“Right.  Right?  I got every right in the book ta treat y’all any way I damn well please!  Ya’ll live under my roof, eat my groceries, an’ everythin’ else.  ‘Sides it’s none of yer damn business.”

Charlie took a step towards Olin.  “She’s my kid sister.  That gives me every right.  Ya ain’t gonna do this no more!”

Olin reached his hand into the desk drawer. “Oh, no?  Ain’t no little pip squeak like you gonna stop me, or tell me what ta do.”

She’d heard a muffled pop like someone deflating a balloon, and Charlie’s teenage body fell with a thud on the thick oriental carpet.  He wasn’t getting up or making a sound…not even breathing.

Through the crack in the door, she saw the blue-black metal Glock in Olin’s hand.  He’d spent many an hour cleaning, polishing, and just caressing it in the past.  A small puff of smoke snaked its way towards the ceiling as he twisted something off the tip of it.  The acrid smell of gunpowder drifted in the air, and Olin just stared at the body with a sanctimonious smile on his face.  He used his foot to roll Charlie over.  Charlie just lay there like a sack of taters.  Olin put the revolver in his belt and then kicked poor Charlie’s body.  Charlie was dead, he had to be.

Jacqueline bit down on her hand stifling her scream.  Ya gotta move, before he finds you out here!  Every nerve in her thin body jangled an alarm as she turned, and with silent footfalls ran down the hall.

She and Charlie had talked about running away, but had never managed to do it.  Now, she had no choice.  Jacqueline bolted into her bedroom, crammed her jeans, t-shirts, and letters her deceased mother had gotten from her father, into her into her backpack.  She was leaving.

Her precious letters were not from Olin, but her real father.  The man her momma had loved until the day she died.  She knew her momma had only married Olin ‘cause of money and he’d be able to take care of them.  Daddy hadn’t left any insurance, being only twenty-five he didn’t think cancer would catch him, but it did.

Interested in reading more? This novel is available in paperback at and e-versions at look under the "mybooks" tab to grab the links.
As always...
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

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