Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To Make A Short Story Sandwich, You Need Two Novels For Bread

Ya know, it's getting mighty hard to come up with a short title for a blog post. Pretty soon my titles will wind up like, "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (On The Bedpost Overnight)".

Pretty sad, eh?

Anyways, since I didn't really give anything of a writing update beyond showing you a video last week, I thought I would give you an update of what I've been able to accomplish (or not accomplish) this month.

First off, we will tackle the interior part of the short story sandwich, which is mainly the short story.

Short story entitled The Backpack: As I'd mentioned a few weeks ago, I got the seed of a story idea from one of the vignettes that I created during my morning walks. I took the idea and managed to crank out a ten page/5,315 word story. There's not much of a plot to it, and the genre could be considered either paranormal; supernatural; fantasy; or a combination of all three (I'm kind of in the midst of a multi-year stretch of where my writing touches on either of those three themes, in spite of what I've gotten published, which was new age and quirky).

The story is basically this: A guy retrieves a backpack that he was entrusted to care for and is trying to give it back to the person who gave it to him. It contains elements of ultra violence (four people are killed right off the bat); unmitigated violence as dictated by the paranormal/supernatural/fantasy element (two more perish); and PG-13ish sex (yah, I know, hard to believe). That is the entire story in a nutshell.

However, because this blog is about me and my adventures in writing, I have a request to make of my friends who are either writers or dabble in writing: would any of you be interested in critiquing my short story for me? I really want to tighten this up and make it flow smoother, and a few more pairs of eyes would be helpful for me. Especially since this is the first original short story I've written in about year and a half, and I want to make it as good as possible. If you have the time and feel up to it, let me know in the comments.

The bottom slice of bread, otherwise known as Line 21: Not much to report on that particular front. The publisher in question has a turnaround policy of sixty days and does not like simultaneous submissions, and since I had e-mailed it in early July, I should expect an answer by early September. Until then, about the only real time I spend on it is to either tweak the synopsis or the query letter. By "tweaking" I mean tightening up the grammar, the sentence structure, etc. etc. etc.

I've also had to spend some time coming up with a pen name. While I didn't mind putting my full name to my first self-pubbed book nor to either of my short stories, it probably would make sense to attach one to this. While I am proud of my writing, there's still something of a residual aftertaste in everyone's collective mouth when it comes to reconciling G the writer with either G the blogger or G the person. Thus, I'm looking for a new pen name, as somehow, calling myself Georgie B, while good for the time that I spent in the chat rooms, doesn't sound adult enough for a writer (surprised? you shouldn't be).

The top slice of bread, otherwise known as A Lascivious Limbo: I know that I said that I was going to fluctuate between doing the short story and this novel, but things changed over this past weekend. I didn't count on the story really writing itself nor consuming a good chunk of my time (the story itself took me exactly twelve days to write), but it did.

So now that I got that short story out of the way, I believe I can return to this novel with a better outlook and a better idea on how to go about executing what I need to do. To refresh everyone's memory, including mine, I said that I still had to write a wake, a funeral and a suicide, and I also had to tidy up all the loose ends. Well, I did manage to get something of an outline written in the story for the suicide (not tasteless, I assure you. suicide is one of a select group of topics that I try not to go overboard with) before I temporarily shelved the novel, so I got that out of the way.

That about sums up my major writing projects to date. And of course, you know I'm not gonna let you escape without a writing related question, so here it is.

For those of you who write both short stories and novels, or any other combination of the written word, what do you find less aggravating to write? Let me know what your opinion is, and I'll let you know what mine is for next Wednesday.


  1. Well, short stories have the advantage of being shorter and the agony is over sooner. :)

  2. Hope the news is fabulous when it arrives, G. How fun to pick out a new moniker :)

    Hope your novel writing is moving beautifully along.

  3. Your story and plot sound very intriguing, G. I am tapped out in terms of editing and writing these days. Otherwise I'd be glad to, sir.

  4. Charles: Excellent point.

    Talon: I'm hoping so too. But if anything, after almost six years of writing, I am pragmatic about my chances.

    I have a couple of monikers that I'm bandying about, but I haven't really settled on one yet.

    I'm hoping that I'll be able to pick up on the novel over the weekend.

    David: If I'm reading your comment correctly, then I take it that you're interested in giving it the once over, which I will be eternally grateful for.

  5. I think your pen name should be "G the person." Heh.

    What exactly is PG-13ish sex?

    As for the question, as you know, I find it difficult to write any kind of fiction for adults.

  6. R: I was afraid you would ask that.

    PG-13ish sex in this instance is a brief wardrobe malfunction along with a brief response to it, all contained in less than two sentences.

    If you're interested, I'll e-mail you a copy to critique.

  7. "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (On The Bedpost Overnight)" - I think that sounds like a good country music song! :)

    That's all I've got for a comment since I don't write fiction. :)

  8. Lynn: It does, but it was an late 50's pop hit for Lonnie Donnegan in the UK and the States. Part of the skiffle craze you might say.

  9. Are you kidding? I wish that I could write either!

  10. Mama Z: No, I'm not kidding. I've dabbling in both since December '05, and I've found both to have their pluses and minuses, and I'm really curious as to what people find less agravating. And it doesn't have to be those types of product. It something like what you write (poetry) or even that micro-flash that you come up with on a weekly basis.

  11. First of all, your blog pic-kitty is so cute! I think taking a break from genre lengths is a good idea. A short story sure builds confidence for the novel marathon. Good luck!

  12. Jewel: Thanks.

    You're probably right about taking a break and switching up. Prior to writing this short story, I worked on three straight novels: the two mentioned in the post and one other that I'd dropped.

    At least for now, I'm getting back into the spirit of writing with this short story, which has given me a couple of ideas to play with over the weekend.

  13. Writing a novel overwhelms me right now. I have tried my hand at short stories. It seems like a genre that fits me well right now.

  14. Kelly: That's cool.

    There are pluses and minuses to each and I'll be offering my opinion on both next week.

  15. Short stories are so much easier to fit in with my erratic lifestyle - a novel requires a lot of discipline and I've been struggling with that element for quite a while:(

  16. Jane: I'm finding that to be the case as well. My problem is that I so much family around me that I can't find the time to do any novel writing. It usually takes me about an hour to prep myself for novel writing, and that's becoming harder and harder to find.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

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G. B. Miller

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