I am not much of a short-story writer. Oh, I have tried. It is not my thing, I suppose; I think in bigger chunks. I think in terms of continuing stories. Indeed, my best attempts at the short-story, in my estimation, have dealt with characters who recur in other tales, tales that impact the current story (and vice-versa).
Some of those narratives have become back-story for characters and events in my novels. I have stories about Ted Carrol, the protagonist of my two Cully Beach novels, that deal with his younger days (one or two of them somewhat erotic), that inform the character that appears in SHAPER and WAVES. They tell me who he is, help me better draw the man he becomes.
But stand-alone short-stories? I haven’t been very successful, by my standards. I see longer tales as soon as I get into them — not all, admittedly, but more often than not. In many ways, I think the novella length is more suited to me. The whole DONZALO’S DESTINY sequence is truly eleven novellas and novelettes, put forth as a single novel (in four books, for publishing convenience).
For that matter, all of my fantasy novels are divided into distinct novella-length sections with their own narrative arcs — not only Donzalo, but also the Malvern books, my recent THE EYES OF THE WIND. They are novels, none the less, with an overarching plot. Not the Ted Carrol/Cully Beach novels, nor the related YA, THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, however; those run right through in a manner more typical of mainstream novels. Which they are.
No doubt I shall continue to dabble at the short-story, but it is not my focus at this time. If I do finish some, they might end up incorporated into novels. It has happened before — SHAPER started out as a story of a guy nearly drowning while surfing, a story that now exists in altered form as one chapter.* Or they might become a sequence of tales centered around one character and published as one book. All that is of the future, if it happens at all.
So, I shall get back to writing something. I’m dabbling at the folk festival murder (which may become only attempted murder) but other ideas are milling about in my head, asking for attention. And I REALLY need to pay attention to my music and get some songs recorded for the Will McLean Festival!
*That story is based on a real life occurrence, though the rest of the novel is pretty much fiction. That is, nothing else that happens in the book is ‘real’ but some of the backstory derives from life.