Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sign of Spring

They're all around us -- the signs of Spring.

Not the honk of Canada geese or the smell of doggy doo thawing on back lawns. Not convertibles with their tops down or the roar of motorcycles.

For me, the true harbinger of spring is the Stanley Cup Playoffs! I am glued to the television most nights, watching the drama unfold. My beloved Leafs missed the show, but the Habs (my home town team) are doing well.

This time of year fills my mind with hockey. It creeps into my dreams. A few weeks ago I dreamed of a group of geriatric hockey fans who sneak into the old Montreal Forum with an outrageous prop - a full size canoe with the familiar CH emblazoned on the side.

That brief glimpse is now a short story. My husband thinks it can be a novel, but I think I'll keep it story length for now. I never thought of that possibility before; I always thought my writing efforts should be 'novel or nothing'.

Besides, other authors have had successful novels grow from previously published short stories. For example, Jamie Ford's upcoming novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was once a short story called I Am Chinese.

I believe Steven King had a few full-length novels that were formerly short stories. Several movies have been made from ludicrously short children's books.

The framework is already in place, so it's easy to build outward in all directions. Who knows how many novels were never written because the author thought it would be too much work. Go ahead. Write the short story. It may never become a novel, but it could be published in a literary magazine, or simply be a great writing exercise.

Keep your pencil sharp and your stick on the ice.

--Sandra Cormier

Image from the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center website


Kimber Chin said...

Too true!

Better a short bit of writing than no writing at all.

Plus the internet has now opened up the market for short stories. I love reading romance shorts while on a lunch break.

Judith Leger said...

Oh, Lord yes! Write the short story and later, it's possible to make it a full length one. Can't wait to read that one, Chica! It'll be great.

Zara Penney said...

Never underestimate the value of a short story. Never ever make the mistake that many people do, who devalue them. They are harder to write than novels. Like a good children's book, the skill of the author to write a good tight well fitted novel is only easy as it looks. If it looks easy its the skill rather than the easiness. A good comic is the same. It is a very tight bit of very clever authorship. And if the author has made it look easy, then that author to be sure has probably written a very intertaining but deceptive piece.

Short stories go into anthologies. Short stories go into retrospectives.
Short stories are poetry.
Short stories are the scales upon which you can build your novels.

Big Mike said...

Interesting point Sandra on the short stories. I actually wrote a short story called RimFire, but by the time I got to 6000 words, I saw all kinds of possibilities as a novel. So now its the fifth book I'm working on.

And Zara is right too. The shorter the story, the more difficult it is get the characters and setting to appear real to a reader, there's so little space to carve and mold them.

Big Mike

Jamie Ford said...

The funny thing was, I wrote that at a workshop and the person running it loved the story but didn't think it was possible to turn it into a novel.

Good thing I didn't listen and went with my gut.