Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I wish I could do this!

One of my local news dailies had a nice article about a local author. His name is Dave Boling, and he's a sportswriter turned novelist. He recently wrote a novel called Guernica. Guernica is in Spain, and was relentlessly bombed by the Nazis during the Spanish Civil War, which was well before my time. This act inspired Pablo Picasso's famous painting of the same name. He "made it", as they say, on the first try. Not only has he "made it", he "made it" internationally! I'm happy he did. I'm happy when any writer makes it like this. And since he got a good advance for this work(few Americans nowadays know anythng about this), I'm even happier for him. Most writers aren't that lucky.

But later on, two other news writers who made the transition to novels, wondered why he "had not gone through the usual training wheels of becoming a fiction writer --- short stories and learning the craft and then getting 70 pages into a novel and losing faith"(Direct quote from the Seattle PI) Which makes me wonder. Is there some equirement that a writer follow these steps? Certainly every writer should "learn the craft". How else can
they write? But writing short stories? While Robert Sawyer seems to think you must write short stories(he called it "paying your dues" in a column I can't seem to find), I wonder. If you're writing literary fiction, probably. And if you can write short stories, it's a good way to establish publication. But not everybody is good at writing succinctly enough for a good short story(I'm not; I write "big"), and I"m not at all sure that there are too many short story outlets for genre fiction. There certainly don't seem to be many for science fiction. So why the claim? I don't know. All I know is, that aside from being happy for Boling's success, I wish I might hiave a shot at similar success for my Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece With Neandertals. But I probably won't, so it's back to writing. . . .
Anne G


terryt said...

"So why the claim?" Jealousy?

stevent said...

I personally don't think it's a necessary requirement that you have published short stories -- per say -- in order to get a larger writing deal for a novel. I know there are authors who have never published anything before publishing their first novel. I do know agents and publishers like to find talents who are marketable, and having publishing credentials to your resume always helps.

I used to write short stories more back in high school and college but after college I moved on to writing my novel exclusively, and I just don't have the time to write short stories anymore. There are a couple up on my web site right now that I've written in the past two years, and a third I'm working on that I hope to have up on my site by next month, and eventually I'd like to try to get those published.

I do think there is less of a market for genre fiction in short stories (mine are mainly historical fiction) but I know there are some out there. For Sci-Fi too. Check the Novel and Short Stories Writers Market book. That should give some idea of what is available.