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!
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!)
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?