by Anna Campbell
Am I showing my age if I mention the song Short People by Randy Newman? For those of less advanced years, here's a link to the video:
I must say I got a shock when I saw it went all the way back to 1977!
I suppose you could say this is sort of a follow-up post to the big fat books one. But 'short' is on my mind right now because, shock, horror, pain, agony, I have to write a short story this month.
Short does not come easily to me. Sheesh! I have trouble restricting myself to the 400 pages that Avon allow me to tell a story. Every book I've written has come out at least twice as long in its first draft. So with restricting myself to 100,000 words proving tough, you can imagine how I feel faced with something only a few pages long. Ouch!
In May, I had the pleasure of seeing my first published short story. I wrote short stories in my long, LONG writing apprenticeship. I entered them in contests with variable results - generally if it was a romance, I did OK. But the length always felt unnatural, especially as my ideas are usually complicated enough to last a whole novel.
Anyway, the Australian Women's Weekly took on LADY KATE'S SCOUNDREL and I got a nice Regency illustration to go with it. I suspect the artist had seen the BBC PRIDE AND PREJUDICE - the hero has a definite whiff of Mr. Darcy about him, hasn't he?
By the way, you can read LADY KATE here. The wonderful people at Avon Australia have put it on their website.
On a personal note, I got a real thrill from the AWW gig. The magazine is an institution here in Oz and my late mother would have got such a kick out of her daughter being in the Weekly. I mean, you can keep your publishing contracts from New York. You've REALLY made it if you're in the Women's Weekly! I knew Mum was somewhere chortling!
Which brings me back to my current short story project. On Monday, some good news became official. CLAIMING THE COURTESAN has finaled in the Romantic Book of the Year Award here in Australia. The R*BY is our equivalent of the RITA and is open to all romances published in 2007 written by an Australian or a New Zealander. There are two awards, one for category romance and one for mainstream. They make a lovely fuss of you - the finalists are announced in another huge magazine here called The Woman's Day and we have a big awards night at our conference in August where the trophies are presented.
As a finalist, I also have the opportunity to write a romantic short story for The Woman's Day. LADY KATE came in just over 4,000 words. This time, I have to restrict myself to 1,500 words. How tough is that? But it's fantastic publicity for me and my writing so I can't say no. And anyway I enjoy a challenge - at least when I've surmounted it, LOL.
Wish me luck! And I'll let you all know when the story hits the presses.
In the meantime, writers, do you write long or short? Are there advantages you can see to either approach? Readers, do you enjoy romantic short stories? My mother, who was a lifelong romance reader, used to hate them because she just got interested and it was over! Does anyone have any favorite short stories - romantic or not? Are there times when you think short is BETTER?
Also, make sure you check out the Eloisa James/Julia Quinn charity auction. It's for a really great cause and some wonderful items are up for grabs.
Please let me know if you haven't read CTC. I'm giving away a signed copy to celebrate the great news about the R*BY!