Monday, February 11, 2013

To Write a Novel or Short Story

I’m living with Doris Mead and Emily David.  Or maybe they're living with me.  Regardless, we are in each other’s space.

My favourite genre is crime fiction.  A couple of months ago I finished another full-length novel – a psychological suspense.  It was exciting to write and when it’s published I hope you will find it an exciting read.

It was my intention to write and submit some short stories in this genre before tackling another novel.  Emily and Doris were to be the protagonists in a short story.  It was a challenge from the start.  You see, short stories don’t come easily for me.  Mostly because I’m anal for detail and character background.  Have I told you that before? 

For instance, I researched everything I could think of on the era of the story.  Even the Korean War.  I mean, who would do that for a short story.  I know the wages, the top 100 hits, and the vehicles – right down to their whitewalls. 

I spent hours researching women’s shoe styles, if you can believe it.  By the way, there’s a big difference in the styles from the early 50’s to the mid 50’s − details are important.  Afterall, I have to picture these people in my mind. 

I can’t deny that novels are my preference.  Introducing in-depth characters and conflicts – the highs and lows – the suspense that tugs the reader in one direction, and then slowly back in another.  The characters and conflict are key. 

That’s where Emily and Doris come in.  Doris isn’t a problem.  She’s dead.  Emily, now, Emily is a different story ... pardon the pun.  She’s an 83 year old widow.  She lives a quiet life – to the point of boring.  Yet, that’s not how I could describe her lifestyle in the early 1950’s.  Now, there lies the problem.  It’s all about what happened one summer night sixty years ago.

When Emily tells about that July night in 1953, she could fill a book.  Yeah, that’s what I said – a book!

So, here I go again.  I’m not sure if I feel as strongly about Emily and Doris as I did about the characters in my last novel.  They wouldn’t leave me alone for a minute until finally I started writing.

So, for now, I’m living with Emily David to see how far she pushes me and how desperate she is to tell her story – to tell it before it’s too late – before the story is buried forever with The Bones of Doris Mead.

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