Thursday, August 30, 2012

Short & Sweet . . . Or A Hot, Tasty Morsel

The Delights & Pluses of Short Fiction

As a long-winded (very) writer – my first completed manuscript ended up at 103,000 words – I never contemplated writing shorter length stories. I hadn’t even read many short romances, of any genre. I’d perused Red Sage collections and some Ellora’s Cave novella duets.

Then I started a Yahoo group for writers of sizzling stories. Erotic romance and erotica are usually taboo discussion topics on general loops because of the often graphic subject matter and I wanted somewhere I, and other authors penning the hot stuff, had for our craft and industry discussions that would not get us tossed off the other loops.

In an effort to keep things lively on my Let Me Get You Hot & Bothered group ( and give our members a chance to spread their wings (hot wings?) I started Freaky Friday Flash Fiction. Working with a prompt (word, picture, phrase, etc.), we post flash fiction of 500 words, give or take (as I often say, we’re easy!).

Lo and behold, I discovered the joy of writing short – and very hot. These spicy love nibbles soon became a fascination and I started writing them on my own wherever the urge took me, posting them on my Yahoo loop, and also on my personal erotica fiction blog, Lust In The Afternoon ( ). I’d never thought of submitting these super shorties of just a couple thousand words or so, then along comes an anthology call for a Ravenous Romance ménage antho. One of my pieces fit perfectly with the submission call, so I sent it off, not really expecting too much.

Then a few months later, I’m staring at my first contract and my first published piece, “Share and Share Alike” in the newly released Ravenous Romance anthology, “My First Threesome”, edited by F. Leonora Solomon.

And I’m not alone. Several other members of this chapter have likewise found their first publication successes with shorter length fiction.

The time is absolutely ripe to explore short stories and novellas because the current digital boom allows publishers the opportunity to publish both stand-alone short stories that often sell for as little as $ .99, or novellas in the $2.99 range, as well as anthologies. They are no longer hampered by length restrictions of printing costs and the popularity of short fiction is growing by leaps and bounds as folks with e-readers discover this romance format for the first time. Whether it is a short story interconnected with novels and published in between full-length releases to keep an author’s visibility up, or single stories written to publishers’ themes or just single, short tales, readers are gobbling up these little nuggets of romance goodness.

For a writer, producing short fiction requires deft editing and concise writing to get an effective story told in so few words. This is definitely a craft-honing format for that reason alone.

Likewise, for a newer author, it can be a terrific chance to attract new readers and fans who might very well be willing to take a chance on a writer they don’t know for just $ .99 or $2.99, whereas they would not be willing to fork over, say, $9.99.

And of course, short fiction, especially short stories of 10,000 and under can be generated in a much shorter time frame, which allows for more frequent product and exposure to keep interest up while you are working on the full-length MS. Sometimes life gets in the way and we can’t even begin to contemplate a novel. Maybe, however, during those breaks, like in the eye of a hurricane, you can find the wherewithal to create something bite-sized.

Short fiction has always been a staple in publishing, and some fiction authors never write anything longer. But with romance such a supremely popular subject, and with digital booming? Romance shorts and novellas are riding a Bonsai pipeline wave to great success.

So, whether you would prefer to write sweet little petit fours romance confections, or sizzling hot erotic romance jalapeno poppers, why not give short fiction a try? Like myself and others here in RWA/NYC, you may make your first sale with a 5,000 word story. Or discover a format that suits you perfectly.

Start whetting the appetites of your future fans and then get ready to feed their passions with these delectable little love bites!

Want to get a taste of my menage? Click on the Title of this Post!).

1 comment:

  1. Great post Lisa! I can honestly say that this is a weakness of mine. I feel like when I try to write short I end up with no character depth in any way and the characters are unlikeable. It's probably more a perception thing in my own head, because I like a lot of of shorts from other authors. Either way it's a weakness I'm working on while I'm writing my other books.