All Things Writing

The Craft of Writing

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How Long is a Short Story

Here’s a terrific post on the length of five short stories each, by seven celebrated short story writers.

You’ll find counts for Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Carver, Ernest Hemingway, Alice Munro, Flannery O’Connor, and Edgar Allan Poe.

You’ll find counts for A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World, Eyes of a Blue Dog, One of These Days, Death Constant Beyond Love; A Sound of Thunder, The Pedestrian, The Small Assassin, The Veldt, There Will Come Soft Rains; Cathedral, Why Don’t You Dance, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, So Much Water So Close To Home, Where I’m Calling From, Hills Like White Elephants, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, A Clean [,] Well-Lighted place, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Indian Camp; Runaway, The Bear Came Over the Mountain, Family Furnishings, The Moons of Jupiter, Cortes Island; A Good Man is Hard to Find, The life You Save May Be Your Own, Good Country People, Everything That Rises Must Converge, Parker’s Back; The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell-Tale Heart.

The long story short {yes. I crack myself up} The average length is 5,100 words.

What do you think?

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Just Saying

It seems toast is the next big thing. Who knew? I have, of course, been a trendsetter once again. I have toast on a fairly regular basis. I even make my toast with artisanal bread. What can I say except that I am finally a hipster. Go me. I’d honestly thought that ship had sailed.

SO here’s the thing. If toast is currently selling for about $7 a pop — no pun intended but I am ROFL — why are we draying (beating) ourselves for $.20/word? Why are we trying desperately to get crowd funding for our latest journalistic effort? Why don’t we just buy some artisanal bread, plug our toaster into the oh-so-passé-and-politically-incorrect cigarette lighter port in our cars – are they passé in Colorado – and sell toast from our minivans?

Just sayin’

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Who Knew? Katherine Paterson

The first amazing writer I met and had a conversation with was … Katherine Paterson! Yes. THE Katherine Paterson! How did I have the nerve to strike up a conversation about the fact that we both could trace a part of our family history – her’s through her husband – to Scotland via the Paterson (one “t”!) name, as well as the fact that we are both adoptive moms?

Obviously, the first factor was that I’d never heard of her because I’d been living under a rock and deep in the trenches of young children when her amazing work first came out. The second factor was that I met her under the least auspicious circumstances possible: she was at a regional SCBWI conference at the request of a long-time friend. The conference was a one-day affair in a church with a parking lot that is always jammed.  Factor three?  It was the very first children’s writing conference I attended.

Imagine my horror when she was ultimately introduced – full credentials cited – and went on to tell a very funny story about her granddaughter, the Queen of Denmark, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. (If you’re cringing in horror, you definitely get it!)

Since that day, I’ve been at one other conference where Katherine Paterson was a speaker. This time it was the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference. I probably would have gotten it that she was an author of note that time from the fact that she was a prominent part of the program, but honestly, she is such a warm and gracious person that I still might have gotten up the nerve to speak to her — Not!

I’m blushing crimson to admit there are several other authors I’ve met in similar fashion. More in the future!

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Who Knew?

When I launched my freelance career, I had no idea I would be fortunate enough to meet some of the most amazing writers alive. Let’s face it, even if I had, I wouldn’t have guessed the names and or the circumstances. I suppose it’s been serendipitous. I know for sure it’s been a lot of fun!  From time to time I’ll share the story of one of my adventures.