Random Rambling About (My) Short Stories…

I am in the editing stage of a book of short stories.  This will be different from my other two books of short fiction in a number of ways.  The other two were both pretty eclectic, while this is all science fiction.  Seasons of Imagination had 36 stories and totaled about 71K words.  Embers had 22 stories and totaled about 90K words.  This book will only have 11 stories and be close to 75K words, so the average story length, having jumped for Embers, has jumped again.

I like short stories.  I like to read them, and I like to write them.  Although I like the novels and longer novellas I put out, I think my short stories (and short novellas) as given in these three collections are my best works of fiction.  I know this format is not the best if trying to sell books, but…  Both Seasons of Imagination and Embers have sold better than The Old Mill or The Haley Branch and much, much better than my two fantasy novellas, so…  They also each have almost as many reviews (or at least stars) as those three put together.

Thinking stars, until a week ago, Embers had one review but 4 people gave it stars.  So, on average, it was four four star ratings.  Last week someone gave it one star but without a review.  With a book of short stories I wonder.  What was so awful that the entire election was one star? There wasn’t one story they liked? Of course, I’m not sure I really want to see a review (The Fireborn’s one star review was a paragraph of saying it was the worst book ever written in the history of writing, etc. – not easy reading…), yet I am curious about it.  Oh well.

Which brings up a point – why bother?  I had more people read the short story I posted yesterday than read all of my books combined.  Yes, that is right, I get more “likes” on any given short story I post in WP than the sales of all 6 of my books combined over the last four years since I published Seasons of Imagination.  Some of my stories have had five or six times the number of views as the total number of sales.  I’m obviously not putting the books out to make money!  If I’m doing it to have people read my stories, then I should work on pushing to get more blog readers instead of publishing, right?  One of the reasons The Old Mill was delayed for almost a year was that as I was working on the final draft I decided that all of the work to make the book presentable wasn’t worth it, so I gave up… well, I put it on hold for almost a year, then did finish the editing and publish it.  As to future books, I’ll still try keep publishing them, worth it or not.

So I will continue to put out books and hopefully have my next one ready in a couple of months – I am shooting for an early October release.

But I have also thought about taking my two existing short story books off line and creating new editions. 

A new version of Seasons of Imagination would take the stories from that cycle (the hyper-imaginative 10 year old) and base the entire book around them.  I have written over a dozen stories about this character.  Besides the original four, there were three in Embers.  I might need to write a few more to make it worth it.

The new version of Embers would take the handful of stories from Seasons that I really like that aren’t part of the cycle (6 or 7, which would mean almost 30 stories would be pulled from publication), besides taking out the three Season’s stories, I’d remove some of the worst stories from the existing Embers (remove 4 or 5 plus 3 Seasons) and add in the handful of stories that I have written post-Embers but don’t fit in with the sci-fi collection I am currently getting ready.  I think this would be a much stronger book than the existing one. And perhaps I could pull one or two of the sci-fi works out of the revised Ember’s collection and add them to my new book, making them both about the same length.

Part of me looks at it and thinks it would be a great idea to make the change – I think I’d have two stronger books (maybe all three including the WIP).  But part of me goes back to that “why bother” attitude.  There are a lot of moving parts to make that change.  Is it worth it?

For now I am going to go back to editing my current collection as is.  Having far fewer stories I think it is a stronger book.  I do like the eclectic nature of the others, but I think having these all being sci-fi helps from a reader’s POV.  So…

And I will continue to write and post an eclectic mix of short stories on the blog.  (Quick comment about posting – in hindsight, some of my posted short stories are awful! Someday I may go back and remove about 80% of them… but then, most likely I won’t.)

Anyway, hope you didn’t mind this mindless rambling…  I often think about these types of things, but never post them.  First, I do not want to seem like I am feeling sorry for myself when I complain about reviews or sales!  Quite the contrary!  (OK, I am human, I do on occasion).  For the most part I see it as an exciting adventure. 

And as to exciting adventures, it is time to write a new short story, one about an exciting adventure….

32 thoughts on “Random Rambling About (My) Short Stories…

  1. Leon Stevens

    My first science fiction book is a collection of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic. I grew up on short stories, so it felt natural to write that length. Like many genres, short stories are a niche, but I don’t think there are enough of them.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I’m with you, I grew up reading anthologies of short stories, so I’ve always liked them. I would think that with today’s short attention span, more people would gravitate towards them, but people seem to like 7 or 8 book series better these days…

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  2. Antoinette Truglio Martin

    Just write what comes to you and what makes you satisfied as a storyteller and writer. The universe will do the rest.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      We do have to keep creating, it is part of who we are :) Thanks, Marina. As to drawing, I used to make a new drawing for the blog every week or two – I need to find time to do that again! Every so often I dig up one from those days, like this one, and use it for a post that fits. Thanks :)

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  3. Shannon

    I always enjoy your short stories! I have a 2 star review in which the readers states that half of the stories were very good and others not to her taste, and a 4 star that says the reader hope I learn to write better soon – among comments left by reviewers, these stand out as head scratchers. Miserable people like to spread their misery – don’t let them! Keep going! You’d have more reviews if you were a marketer – it’s clear you’re a writer (a good one) and I’ve always been under the impression that you enjoy it, so ignore the haters and don’t give them any power over you or your creativity!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Shannon. There occasionally are real head scratchers in the reviews. Most of mine are pretty straight forward, but some I’ve read… I do really enjoy writing, and I am not going to stop that at all! As to publishing, yeah, I do sometimes have a negative attitude, but I will keep pushing on… Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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    2. Leon Stevens

      I received my first 1-star review not too long ago. My heart dropped at first, but I got over it. You can’t please everyone, and I wasn’t trying to. Every rating before that was 4 and 5.
      In case you are wondering, the review stated: “Boring stories. Nothing interesting happens…”

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      1. trentpmcd Post author

        I’ve had two – the first one said it was the worst book ever written (my book The Fireborn) and easy to ignore, but next was just a rating, not a review, so that’s the one that left me wondering…

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  4. msjadeli

    Just throwing it out there to you, but of books of short stories I’ve read, far and away most of them have been compilations of various authors. Usually one well-known name will draw me in, and the rest of the writers benefit from being in the book. Maybe something to consider?

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  5. joseph elon lillie

    It is good top be able to see the inner workings of your mind. I haven’t published anything other than my blogs but I have lots of things in the works and the why bother is a mindset that has plagued me through all my processes.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      The “Why Bother” mindset is very hard to get over. I have had several people encourage me, which helps. It’s been a while, but I have a few posts about the writing and/or editing process,but this is one of the few I’ve done about the mental process of publishing.

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  6. robertawrites235681907

    I liked Fireborn very much and I am going to read The Old Mill soon. This year just has not been kind to me over reading time and I am way behind. I also had a 1 star rating on Goodreads with no review. It does leave one wondering what the reader disliked so much. I’ve never given a 1 star review and only one 2 start review. That books was just so confusing I couldn’t rate it higher. Most books deserve at least a 3 that I have read. I got a one star review on Amazon for one book that Amazon delivered with a bend cover. Hmmm! I can see how that was my fault – hehe!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Why did you go to that Amazon shipping center and bend that cover?! Shame on you. lol, I also think those types of reviews are funny because of how misguided they are, but a bit painful for the receiver! I have never given less than three stars for a book, though there were a couple that I didn’t review at all. Usually I save reviews for 4 or 5 stars unless I really want to warn people (very rare and not books, which are more taste than quality) and then I am specific. This has been an odd year for reading for me – I took a detour to read as many of Sue Vincent’s books as possible, I read that huge book Little Dorrit, etc., but I do need to get around to A Ghost and His Gold – it sounds interesting.
      Thanks! i hope you enjoy The Old Mill when you get a chance to read it.

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