What’s not to like? They’re a fast read in a busy life, and they don’t take long to write. Okay, some writers find it hard to get a whole story concept into a limited word count, but I’m one of the many who prefer writing them. I like writing novels, too, but in more of a Dorothy Parker sense: I hate writing, I love having written.
One of the things I like about writing them most is the opportunity to stretch myself, experiment with different forms, genres, and points of view. I even wrote one in second person present tense once, just to see if I could do it. (“You Can Do the Math” in All Things Dark and Dastardly. I read a novel in third person once and would like to try a story that way, too, some day. I would never attempt a novel in either second singular or third plural!
I have exactly one werewolf story to my credit, but it won a prize at Mysterical-E (“Retransformation” Summer 2008). I’ve long wanted to use the character, Isabel Musik, again and hope another story with her will appear soon.
I’ve done two stories that are takeoffs on fairy tales and I’ve loved writing those. They’re probably actually fantasy, but I’ll admit I did commit murder in both of them. The first, “Henry, Gina, and the Gingerbread House,” came out in Grimm Tales in 2011. The stories here are meant to include crimes and they’re a delightful bunch of tales. Henry (Hansel) and Gina (Gretel) are, true to the original tale, motherless waifs who are persecuted by their wicked stepmother while their father is overseas in the service. The stepmother shoves them into a candy shop called The Gingerbread House to confess to shoplifting. They set up a deal to work off the money owed, but they end up indentured to the witch of a woman who owns the place. The kids make out all right in the end.
The second is my latest! I did a version of “Cinderella” using modern technology. I call it “Ella and the Ball” and it was published in Once Upon a Fact in May of this year. It was a lot of fun giving Ella (she hates the derisive nickname Cinder Ella that her ugly stepsisters use) a self-driving pumpkin-colored coach and a fairy godfather who delivers the gown and glass slippers by drone. I completely changed the ending. It’s still happy, but she doesn’t end up with the prince. He was a bit of a pompous ass.
I must point out the major drawback of writing short stories: the income. There’s almost none. They’re fun to write and fun to read, but there’s not much money in them. Anthologies contain stories by many authors and the proceeds are split among them so that they amount to a few dollars a month. A very few dollars. Recently some of us who put them together have decided to do something different with the royalties from the publishers: give them to charities.
The first Austin Mystery Writers anthology, Murder on Wheels, which I helped put together, decided to give the proceeds to the Austin area Meals on Wheels. Each story in that volume features a wheel in the plot, so that seemed like a good fit. The second volume from that group, Lone Star Lawless, is benefitting the Port Aransas (TX) library, which lost all of their books in a recent hurricane. Day of the Dark: Stories of Eclipse, which I put together, gives over 50% of the proceeds to Earth and Sky. I’m the contact point for all three of these, so I usually add a little to the donation when I send it in to the charity organization. It feels good to do that, a lot better than cashing a check for $0.26!
My collection, A Patchwork of Stories: https://www.amazon.com/PATCHWORK-STORIES-Kaye-George-ebook/dp/B0049B2C2A/
All Things Dark and Dastardly: https://www.amazon.com/Things-Dark-Dastardly-Mary-Loesch/dp/0984657800/
Grimm Tales: https://www.untreedreads.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6_262&products_id=286
Once Upon a Fact: http://wildsidepress.com/authors-t/tomlinson-katherine/
Murder on Wheels: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Wheels-Ramona-DeFelice-Long/dp/147940554X/
Lone Star Lawless: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1479429767/
Day of the Dark: Stories of Eclipse: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073YDGSL5/
BIO: Kaye George, national-bestselling, multiple-award-winning mystery author, writes five series: Imogene Duckworthy; Cressa Carraway Musical Mysteries; People of the Wind (Neanderthal), the upcoming Vintage Sweets series, and as Janet Cantrell, the Fat Cat cozy series.
You can find her short stories in anthologies and magazines, her collection, A Patchwork of Stories, and her own anthology of eclipse stories, Day Of The Dark, by Wildside Press, July 2017. Most recently, her stories have appeared in Lone Star Lawless and in Once Upon A Fact: Futuristic Fairy Tales. The proceeds from both of these go to charities, Lone Star Lawless to the Port Aransas Library, which lost everything in the last hurricane, and Once Upon A Fact to organizations supporting women in STEM fields. Her writing is sometimes dark, sometimes light. She reviews for Suspense Magazine and lives in Knoxville, TN.
She’s lived in several states, many of which, oddly enough, begin with the letter M. She’s been honored with three Agatha Award nominations and one Silver Falchion. Her blogs are TravelsWithKaye.blogspot.com and KillerCharacters.com. Her webpage is KayeGeorge.com.
Heart from morguefile.com
Dorothy Parker photo from Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ggbain-05631 (digital file from original neg.)