Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Shelli on Shorts & a Giveaway


I'm thrilled today to be part of the Uncontrollable blog tour! This is one of my favourite YA series! Shelli (aka S.R. Johannes) is here today to answer some questions I had about writing shorts. Take it away, Shelli!
 
1.   Short stories have become very popular recently. What drew you to this writing form?

My attention span is short J Actually, I have tons of books I have started that I never subbed so I drew from there. Suffocate came from one of those ideas that just never panned out.

After Untraceable, I wanted to keep my writing momentum for my readers without feeling pressured to put out Uncontrollable sooner. I knew I could not force out Uncontrollable any faster or it would not be as good. Short stories only take me a few weeks to write because they are only 15,000 words so they are a nice break. Suffocate was that for me. A step away for a few weeks and a nice beginning to a full story. (#2 in Oct and #3 before xmas)

2.   What is the biggest difference in your approach to writing a short as opposed to writing a novel?

Nothing. It is shorter in word count but you cannot take short cuts on quality or substance. I still make sure I have character arcs and intriguing plot points. I find short stories are actually harder in the sense that you have to get the reader to attach to a main character pretty quickly and you can’t bog it down in back story. So it is a more delicate writing process. Every word has to count and mean something.
 
3.   Was it easier to write Unspeakable which is part of your Nature of Grace series or to start with something completely different in your story Suffocate?

Unspeakable was actually much harder than Suffocate because It was from Mo’s perspective. I found I didn’t know Mo as well and could not get into his head. My Critique Partner actually read the first draft and said Mo was “boring”. It was awful. I didn’t know him as well as I know Grace so I had to dig much deeper to find him, his voice, and a male POV. I also had to make sure he didn’t come across as “creepy guy in woods” and or “boring nature guy”. The hardest part was making it exciting with enough tension but without giving away Untraceable secrets.
 
4.   I loved the ending of Suffocate. Do you handle endings differently in shorts and novels? Or is it more individual to the stories themselves rather than the writing form?

I personally love wrapping up one thread in a book while still leaving another loose thread dangling. I tend to have some of that in all my books. I never plan a series, but if I do leave a thread, I can come back. My first goal is to satisfy the reader with a good ending but my second goal is to keep them wanting more. Maybe leave a question that might bring the reader back if I decide to continue that series. I think this is personal though. What I don’t like is a cliffhanger that doesn’t wrap up the story I’m reading. That’s is so annoying and actually turns me off the next book.
 
5.   Shortbread, short cake or short ribs?

I don’t eat red meat or pork so ribs are out. I’m going to say short cake b/c I love sweets – though now they all have to be gluten free (boo hiss!)

***
Thanks so much, Shelli! I finished Uncontrollable in less than 24 hours. It is AWESOME! Grace is a strong character and she can make my heart break. She also makes me laugh and cheer. So many terrific characters in this one. I love the setting too. Trust me, you want to read this book!

***
Shelli is going to give away one e-copy of Uncontrollable today! All you need to do is comment on this post today (Sept 5th) in order to qualify.

So do you write or read shorts?

46 comments:

  1. Awesome interview. I always admire people who can write short stories. You have to do it all in so many less words. Shelli's advice is great.

    So excited for Uncontrollable's release.

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  2. Nice interview. I haven't been reading too many shorts lately, but I just spent a week working on one while letting my WiP rest. We'll see if it's got the goods to get published anywhere.

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  3. Natalie - it's SO good!! I like the advice too - I'm not great at writing shorts yet!

    Jeff - good for you! I need a lot of time before my shorts will be ready to be pubbed!

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  4. Thanks Jemi for the intro to lovely Shelli and her love of all things sweet and short! Yay!! Take care
    x

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  5. Old Kitty - Shelli is fabulous and so are her stories! :)

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  6. I enjoyed the Q&A. I find short stories much harder to write so my hat's off to writers who can do them well.

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  7. I really enjoy my flash fiction, the shorter the better!
    The thought of writing a novel is scary... but I'll get there... one step at a time.
    Great question & answer session.

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  8. Great to read this. I love short stories and I know how hard they are to write--only slightly less difficult than poetry!

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  9. Oh, yay! Both of the shorts mentioned here are so awesome. I LOVED the ending Suffocate, too! What a fun story. Yay for Shelli! :o) <3

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  10. Linda - I'm completely with you!! I've tried a few, but they are tough!

    Michelle - one step at a time for sure! I like flash fiction so I'm hoping I develop the ability for shorts too. Novels are easier for me - go figure!! :)

    Shelli - you're very welcome! :)

    Lee - agreed - I loved writing poetry once upon a time - haven't done it in a while. It would probably help my shorts too!

    Leigh - it really is a GREAT story! :)

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  11. Amazing interview. I always admire people who can write short stories. You have to do it all in so many less words.

    Congratulations to Shelli!
    Her advice is great.

    Yay! For Uncontrollable's release!

    Nas

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  12. Nas - writing shorts isn't easy! I find novels much easier to put together! :)

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  13. I love following this tour! So interesting to read this post now that I just finished Unspeakable this morning!

    -K8
    http://froze8.blogpsot.com/

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  15. What a great interview! I agree with her that writing short stories is challenging. A lot has to happen with a few words. :) Thanks for sharing.
    ~Jess

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  16. K8 - it's fun! And I loved Unspeakable too - Shelli's brilliant :)

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  17. Jess - I agree - shorts are TOUGH!

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  18. I've noticed a lot of authors are writing shorts for between novels. I never read them, though. My TBR pile is already out of control, and I don't get the same satisfaction from a short like I do from a novel. Somehow I feel cheated.

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  19. Stina - For me it depends on the short :) Some of them aren't real stories, but the good ones are and I've been enjoying them more than I expected! :)

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  20. I like the idea of offering readers short stories while working on the longer stories! Now if I could just write a short story. :)

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  21. Stacy - LOL - those shorts aren't as easy as they look. :)

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  22. I so agree about the frustration of a book ending with just a cliffhanger. Love your analogy of some threads still dangling, but some wrapped up.

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  23. Leslie - I agree too - and Shelli does such a great job of giving a satisfying ending, while making me also want more!

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  24. Love those kinds of endings where the problem of that story is wrapped and either a new one introduced or a thread left hanging. I don't like the climax being cut off in the middle to create that cliff hanger. Or in a recent story I read where there never really was a climax. The story just ended. :)

    Yay for Uncontrollable!

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  25. Laura - I don't enjoy those stories either - the climax should be the best part!! Shelli does a great job of this :)

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  26. I'm too late for the giveaway, but good luck to the others!

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  27. I like stories that leave threads loose at the end; it feels more realistic. As though the characters are still living their lives beyond the book. :)

    Great interview!

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  28. Beth - It's a great story too! :)

    Golden Eagle - I agree - it's nice to know the story is over - but it can continue :)

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  29. Shelli is amazing and I'm so glad to see her books taking off. WTG, Shelli and thanks for sharing this interview, Jemi! <3

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  30. Jackee - you're very welcome! Shelli is awesome! :)

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  31. I've been reading some shorts of late. That's more my caliber of reading since I read slow. I can finish these books much more quickly and I feel a greater sense of accomplishment.


    Lee
    A Faraway View

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  32. Lee - that's so true! I've been convincing some of the slower readers in my class to try shorter books and stories. Definitely builds the confidence!

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  33. Jemi - She is! :)

    -K8
    http://froze8.blogspot.com/

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  34. I've been meaning to read this series. It's great reading more about Shelli and her writing.

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  35. Medeia - it's so good! I know you'll love it :)

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  36. I love short stories and would love to add this to my collection!! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  37. ZaraAlexis - short stories are fun! Unfortunately the giveaway is over, but I know Shelli's stories are on Amazon & the prices are VERY reasonable! :)

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  38. K8 - it's fun! And I loved Unspeakable too - Shelli's brilliant :)


    She certainly is! :)

    -K8
    http://froze8.blogspot.com/

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  39. K8 - I love Shelli's stories - she's a fabulous writer! :)

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