Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for July: (7/6) Jennifer J. Chow (7/13) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 1--Ice Cream Shop Mystery), (7/20) Susan Van Kirk, (7/27) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 2--Ice Cream Shop Mystery).

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Swiss Army Knife Short Stories

Photo by Berteun

The Swiss Army Knife Short Stories

            Some of the short stories I have written have been published electronically, in print, and in an audible format.  Write once sell thrice.  One set of three related stories initially published in three different venues have become:
1) my favorite tale to read at writing events
2) an ongoing theme at a mystery convention (including a wonderful faux crime scene) with the resolution presented at the final banquet. 
3) a work in progress as I try to transform them into a coherent, seamless play. I’m trying to figure out how to work background information into dialog.  I need an exposition exhibition. 

            Every venue had its own requirements in terms of vocabulary and dialog.  The written word was different from the spoken word.  Reading aloud is particularly helping at changing from a written to a spoken format

            One characteristic of the Swiss Army Knife stories is that the “voice” of the main character is distinctive.  In my mind, even if not explicit in the story.  I knew who was talking and who the audience for the protagonist was.  Another characteristic was the unexpected twists and turns.  The stories held surprises for readers.  

            The characters I wrote about keep popping up from my subconscious to tell me more about their adventures.  It's my job to type them up.
Have you had stores that fit different means of expression?  


Gloria Alden said...

Warren, most of my stories have different main characters and are told from different points of view; ie third person, first person and omniscient narrator. However, I liked one of my third person characters enough to write three short stories using her and I'm considering the same for a first person character I like, too. I've never tried writing a play.

Jim Jackson said...

It’s a scary world inside my head. All those people I created vying for more space on the paper – just like a bevy of actors wanting more time on the stage. The only way I have been successful is to kill the characters.

Athough I’m thinking about a paranormal plot, so even that may no longer work!

~ Jim

KM Rockwood said...

Interesting approach, Warren. I've gone to murder mystery events, and I know the cast makes changes to the stories if someone seems to be getting too close to a solution, so they are very flexible. They are fun! I haven't tried making my stories anything but written, but the idea is worth consideration.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I've written over a hundred short stories and each is different. "Voice" becomes very important when writing from a first person viewpoint. In my mystery novel THE THIRD EYE: A PINE BARRENS MYSTERY, I use first person, a distinct voice of a fourteen yr. old boy, alternating with third person viewpoint of his mother, an adult woman. The two viewpoints bring the story together for some surprise twists. Of course, this is a co-authored novel which makes the book especially interesting for pt. of view writing.

Shari Randall said...

I love mystery events and plays. It's great fun to actually "live" a mystery.
Right now I am toggling between a novel and a short story, and it's giving me mental whiplash. Being able to work in all those different forms is an impressive ability.

E. B. Davis said...

I agree with Jacqueline. Voice is important. I have a few short stories that have the same main characters, but the stories are set at different times so although they are the same characters, those characters have moved on to another time and set of circumstances. Both time and circumstance determine their mindset, demeanor, and relationship so although they are the same characters, they've changed--as we all do. I've never done a reading, Warren, (I cringe in fear.) but I could see how their voices would remain somewhat the same but with nuances.

Jim--you've said about a paranormal plot--I want to know more about this since I never took you as a paranormal fan, more my cuppa.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for the comments. When I wrote the mystery for a conclave I had to keep re-writing as various actors told me what they wanted to do and say. I think it was like working on a movie script.

And yes, voice is extremely important.

Sarah Henning said...

Oh, man, the cast inside my head is insane. I've always worried my first-person protagonists will sound too similar, but once I've finished each manuscript, I'm always so relieved that they really don't. That said, I haven't reused anybody just yet.