Please welcome to the blog today, Craig S. Boyack. He is a fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction writer whose ventures into the short story collections are a welcome surprise to all. His famous sidekick, Lisa Burton, or robot girl wins raves wherever she goes. Craig has been a wonderful author to get to know and I think if you give him a chance, he’ll win you over in no time. I highly recommend you get a copy of his book.
Thank you for inviting me today, Traci. I’m here to talk about my newest release, The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. This is the second volume of short stories and micro-fiction I’ve put out.
Traci asked me to discuss short form vs. novels. Honestly, three different people asked me for this topic, and trying to make them all unique is somewhat of a challenge. I like a good challenge though, so here we go…
Part of my bag of tricks involves micro-fiction. There are many words for this like flash fiction, creepy pasta, and sudden fiction. Some have tried to define the differences between all of those, but there are no hard and fast rules. I decided that if it fits within the parameters of a blog post, I’ll call it micro-fiction. This could be anywhere from 300 to 1500 words. After that, I call it a short story.
Legend has it that Hemingway wrote the first one, but this is unsubstantiated. It goes like this, “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” My micro-fiction isn’t quite that short, and I wouldn’t feel right trying to sell that, but it gets the point across quite well. There is still a pound of emotion there, and you wind up thinking about it long after you read it.
Most of my micros will fill one page. Both notebooks contain a few of these, but there are short stories as well.
The best example I can think of involves trimming everything you don’t need away. Start with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It’s one of my favorite movies, and since it’s old and popular, I think it makes a great example. There is a great piece of micro-fiction in there if you trim everything else way.
The Nazis shoot Henry Jones to force Indy to retrieve the Holy Grail. Indy defeats Sir Richard. The Nazis step in and take over, choosing the wrong chalice. Indy chooses the old beat up cup and says, “This is the cup of a carpenter.” He’s right, and can now save his father.
A movie (the novel for comparison) had leisure to set up the relationship between Indy and Henry. As a micro, the reader has to get that from context, it’s possible. Can you write it in 1000 words? If you eliminate the bridge trap and the alphabet trap, I’ll bet you can. Keep the spinning blades, they were cool and set some tension.
Can you write it in 300 words? There’s no time for Sir Richard, but it could still work. The trick is that moment of revelation must remain. Sir Richard’s only purpose was to deliver the lines of choosing poorly and choosing wisely. Once the Nazi melts, readers will understand. Who cares about the cup not crossing the great seal. Your micro will end before that matters.
Start with the gunshot, eliminate any fluff in the middle, build the emotions and tension, save Henry. End with an emotional scene or line. It’s entirely possible.
The second Experimental Notebook is priced at 99¢, and contains fifteen short form stories. They cover the gamut of science fiction, paranormal, and one fantasy. There are two tales that deal with murder, and since there is no speculative element, I made sure this volume contains more stories than the first one. There are a couple of micro-fiction pieces, and some short stories that run up to eleven-thousand words. These are all stand-alone stories, and reading the first Experimental Notebook is not a prerequisite.
Thank you for being with us today, Craig!! I was excited and pleased to be a beta reader for Craig’s collection. I have to say Magpies is raw and haunting. The tale of death from a bird’s eye is so freshly done. I also loved the graveyard story, forgive me, Craig, I’ve forgotten the title’s name but that story is just so—haunting. The idea of people robbing graves to stay alive–