Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book Pilots

Every short story I write is a book pilot, but only for me. I'm not pretending I don't care about what my "audience" (a purely theoretical entity) thinks, but I prefer to jump clean into the cold waters of an idea before I commit myself to testing the waters with a prudent toe.

A short story is, to me, the perfect length. It gets a whole thought to the page with a minimum of active scheming, and is pre-packaged for my attention span. I can keep an entire book in my mind, and have, but it requires almost all of my mental resources, whereas while writing a short story I can operate on about ten percent and then that piece can conveniently serve as a shorthand for the book that follows if I'm pleased with the results.

Furthermore, I can write a short story in three hours. If it sucks, I can then discard it. I can write a book in a month. I do not yet trust myself to discard a book if it sucks, but I do trust my 'editor voice', and it says "David, your books suck."

I hold myself to high standards. There will be no filler in my books, there will be no meaningless scenes. My target is 60,000 words of pure awesome, and for pure awesome you need a good idea and good characters.

My two most likely candidates are "Timpani the Ostrich Rancher" and "Drugs are Legal, People Ain't".

Hey, bonus: a short clip from "Drugs are Legal, People Ain't"

062 - Drugs are Legal, People Ain't 1


On the magazine front, Ben Godby figured we should call it Flash Fiction Orgy since that's a cool title containing both "orgy" and "flash". The content wouldn't be restricted to Flash Fiction, of course, but it'd be a good medium for what are essentially wordsmith craft samples that are really difficult to sell on their own anyways.

Current Creative total: 2
Writers - 2

As you can see from my placeholder cover art over there (a pastiche of a movie poster, a textbook cover, and some Bad Art), we desperately need an Artist. If you or anyone you know has such skills and want to be involved in a cool project, this is your time. Click on the cover for a direct link to the post page.


Listen, here's how it's going to be: You're going to leave me alone while I drink myself into a stupor, and then you're going to nurse me back to health and I promise, then, that we will have a long talk about our relationship. Really, lady, is a drunken stupor every once in a while altogether too much to ask?

Is it just my isolation from the joys of middle class American society or is that TV screen way too large? ...I want one.

250 words? Yes
Project "Untitled"
- - - -
Reading - ?



  1. I'm having a hard time writing short stories lately. All my ideas now want to be books.

    And I think we have the same editor.


  2. It's your isolation. My husband wanted a 60" TV, I liked the size of the 50", so we compromised on a 56". We didn't have any trouble paying for it, but people now have amazing entertainment systems at the expense of food, clothing, and even mortgages. Those are the things they fight to rescue and hide before the repo people come calling and the foreclosure goes through. Trust me, my sister-in-law was looking at foreclosures and pre-foreclosures to buy.

  3. Madness! If I weren't already in a drunken stupor I'd do so!

  4. Music systems are pretty elaborate too. Why are you drunk at 9:30 in the morning??

  5. I think a short story that makes it into a pro market has proven itself worthy of novelization. That's the challenge I'm going to set for myself, anyway. I'll take all the semi-pro sales I can manage for now (hypothetical--but optimism doesn't hurt anybody), but once that pro sale finally comes, I'll consider myself the author of a story that deserves several hundred pages worth of length.

  6. I think finding the right length for a story is key, and most books are too long.

    So, I take the opposite view toward a short sold pro: That means I've found the right length for that story. A continuation could be imagined, or an expansion on the setting. But that'd be another story.


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