Writing short stories

 

Now that the manuscript for Eladria is in the hands of the publisher, I’ve finally been able to get back to the short stories I’ve been intending to write.

As always seems to be the case for me, the process of editing, redrafting and proofreading takes at least two to three times the amount of time it does to write the initial draft. I wrote my first story about three months ago and I’ve only just got it to a stage where I consider it ‘finished’ (or as finished as anything I ever do!). Admittedly I was juggling a number of other projects at the time, so hopefully it won’t take me nearly as long to complete the next story.

I plan to release the first one, “Artan’s Night” in the next couple of weeks. It tells the story of Artan, a young man with an astounding secret who finds his life in jeopardy when his town is invaded in the dead of night. The events of the story serve as a prelude to Eladria, introducing readers to the troubled world of Tahnadra and setting up various threads that will be resolved in the climax of the novel. My hope is that people will enjoy reading the story and will want to read more.

This is actually the first short story I’ve written since my school days. I wasn’t quite sure how to approach it at first. I took a look some short stories and read up on the theory a little bit. I then realised that when writing my novels, I essentially approached each chapter as a kind of short story. Whether writing a novel of 120,000 words or a short story of 1,000, the same basic dramatic structure (which is essentially “GOAL > CONFLICT > DISASTER!”) remains the driving force of the narrative. I wanted to make sure that, as in my novels, the characters had an arc and a sense of progression to their development. I always ensure that each of my characters has an unresolved need, an unfulfilled yearning or lack which can drive the story and that by the end of it, they have changed, developed and grown. I think that’s the key to telling satisfying and emotionally fulfilling stories.

I did find it quite challenging fitting all of this into a single story. As a result, clocking in at around 9,500 words, “Artan’s Night” is quite a long short story. But I’m pleased with it. I think it’s quite atmospheric, tense, action-packed, intriguing and emotional. I enjoyed creating the character of Artan and although he doesn’t feature in the novel personally (he is still there though, and his fate is revealed at the end), I’d like to revisit him one day.

Stay tuned – I plan to release this in the next couple of weeks vis Smashwords. And, like the best things in life, it’ll be free, as well!

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