Stories don’t need to be long, to be perfect!

What makes a perfect story?

Definitely not…

Length.

Sometimes, a short story?

Is all you need:

[via IO9]18 Perfect Short Stories That Pack More Of A Punch Than Most Novels

People sometimes mistake short stories for trifles, wee vignettes that are over before they start. But there’s a reason why many of the best movies are based on short fiction rather than novels: a short story is just the right length to blow your mind. Here are 18 science fiction and short stories that rock our world.

1) “The Last Question” by Isaac Asimov

This is one of the all-time great idea-driven stories, and it’s one that manages to be both cosmic and poignant. In 2061, humans create the first truly awesome supercomputer, Multivac, and decide to ask it how the net amount of entropy in the universe could be reduced. This turns out to be kind of a tricky question, and it takes rather a long time to get a satisfactory answer. This story contains all of Asimov’s penchant for big-picture storytelling, in one brilliant dose. Amazon/Powells

2) “The Daemon Lover” by Shirley Jackson

18 Perfect Short Stories That Pack More Of A Punch Than Most Novels

Everybody thinks of “The Lottery” as Jackson’s all-time great short story, but as Joyce Carol Oates says in her introduction to Jackson’s collected stories, this one is actually “deeper, more mysterious, and more disturbing.” A woman is engaged to be married, but she can’t remember what her fiance looks like. And when she goes looking for him, she can’t find him — it’s a great gothic horror story, but also a beautifully written look at aging and vulnerability. You can listen to Jackson reading it here. Amazon/Powells

3) “The Janitor on Mars” by Martin Amis

18 Perfect Short Stories That Pack More Of A Punch Than Most Novels

Basically, there’s a robot living on Mars, but it’s been programmed not to reveal itself to Earth people until we’ve changed the atmosphere of our planet enough that we are already doomed to extinction. This happens in 2049, and the encounter with an ancient, extraterrestrial machine, which calls itself the “janitor,” causes a worldwide sensation. The janitor on Mars reveals the three billion year history of Martian civilization, and why it ended suddenly. Meanwhile, back on Earth, a boy named Timmy has been raped so violently he’s in the school infirmary — and the school janitor suspects the principal did it. The juxtaposition between the huge-picture “end of civilizations” stuff and the personal, small-scale stuff is just brilliant. Amazon/Powells

[Read More – See All 18 Perfect Short Stories, Here!]

Oh…

And before I forget?

Gotta add one!

Penny Willan

 

Writing Tips from the Master, J. R. R. Tolken!

Check out these ten tips for writers…

from J. R. R. Tolken:

[via writersinthestormblog]10 Tips from the “Master of Middle Earth”:

1. Vanity is useless.
Truly, Tokien wrote his books to please himself and answer the writer inside him. He expected them to go “into the waste-paper basket” after they left his desk, not live on in popular culture. I’m not saying we don’t need to learn good story craft however, if you entertain yourself, at least you know one person that enjoyed the hell out of your book.

2. Keep writing, even through adversity.
It took the man SEVEN years to write The Hobbit. He balanced a demanding day job, illness, and worry for his son who was away in the Royal Navy. I’m reminded of Laura Drake, her brick wall, and her 400+ rejections.

3. Listen to critics you trust.
When his editor said, “Make it better,” he didn’t throw the advice away. He read and re-read, and he tried his best.

He credits listening to knowledgeable feedback, and working to make it better, for what he considered the best scene in the Lord of the Rings: “the confrontation between Gandalf and his rival wizard, Saruman, in the ravaged city of Isengard.” Oh, and the editor he listened to? C.S. Lewis, the creator of the Chronicles of Narnia.

4. Let your interests drive your writing.
Tolkien’s original interest was in languages. He took that and created new languages, and then an entire culture, around it. Our own contributor, Kathryn Craft, was a dancer, choreographer, and dance critic. She tapped all that experience to write The Art of Fallingexploring themes of love, dance, friendship, and distorted body image. that passion and truth will resonate with readers.

5. Poetry can lead to great prose.
When he could not express his thoughts in the prose he wished for, he wrote much of it in verse. Authors as diverse as Charlotte Brontë and Langston Hughes started in poetry before moving to longer mediums. Next time you get stuck, you might try Tolkien’s trick of writing your scene as a poem first.

6. Happy accidents.
No matter how much you plan, happy accidents occur on the pages of every book. Jennifer Crusie calls it “the girls in9a530db686f4e2a503c59e3d2f7e180b the basement,” saying they hand her up treasures as she writes. Others might call it “the muse.”

One more kick in the pants from our own Laura Drake:  If you don’t put your butt in the chair and do the work, you won’t have any “happy accidents.”

[Read More – See All Ten Tips HERE!]

 

The Waltz Beckons… With A New “Penny Willan…” Excerpt!

When was the last time that you read a book, a section of a story, and had to pause your reading out of sheer appreciation for what you just read? A time where you caught that special rhythm, that majestic beat, that flow of words that dances through your head like an operatic symphony? It is the rare author who can, not only capture this magic, but convey it.

There can be true artistry in the written word, if a story is written with passion. Words should be felt, not merely read. They should be sung in your head like a song, while you gasp out in awe, with a whispered gush, at the vision they convey.

Good writing is enjoyed, but great writing? It should be an event… A moment mentally experienced, and one that will henceforth impress upon you, like a long-held cherished memory, etched forever into the fabric of your being via a reality from an author’s inspired, composed creation:

“As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump; he summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against the fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, jerked the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with the contrary foot: it was all in vain; his steed started, it is true, but it was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of brambles and alder bushes.

The waltz begins

The schoolmaster now bestowed both whip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, but came to a stand just by the bridge, with a suddenness that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at this moment a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveller.” ~Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hallow

Anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming an author, aspires to this. They want to create, conduct, with their imagination something so great as to leave a lasting impact on their readers, long after they’ve read it. And, if their passion is great enough, their desire strong enough, they will find success in the lyrical flow of words they inscribe. These authors will touch you, move you, with the musical cadence of words that pours from their hearts, spilled out on to the page, with the hope that you will enjoy the waltz that they have devised for you, as much as they enjoyed composing it .

Simply this: My great hope is that from Penny Willan and the Well, you will find a waltz worth dancing to.

Excerpt:

“Separated from man,
alone does it stand,
a wishing well aged by time.
Made of hoary stone,
dead weeds ingrown,
dirty and covered with grime.

It sits in a dale,
a sinister vale,
amongst a shroud of trees.
Detached from society,
long had it the notoriety
of dark magic, an evil disease.

There’s those who know,
when into the forest they go,
avoid the wishing well.
‘Tis a place full of evil,
one that feeds on upheaval,
and all at the avarice of Hell.

So, dare not you heed,
the insidious need,
to drop your penny inside,
for Hell it will lash,
your wishes ‘twill cash,
dark torments to never subside.

The wishing well depends,
on your soul for its sins,
to trap you in Hell’s snare.
And with them ‘twill hasten,
your soul to damnation,
passersby ye beware.”

The Well waltz beckons… March 10, 2015.

More excerpts to come. Stay tuned!