My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Posts tagged ‘novels’

Short Stories vs. Novels

I’ve been trying to develop a short story for the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. It’s harder than I thought, since I’ve been working almost exclusively on writing a novel for well, at least two or three years now.

I’ve found as a writer that working on a short story and working on a novel exercises two different types of “writing muscles.” I know, that’s pretty obvious. Short stories have to be completed in a certain amount of words (generally under 4 or 5K) while novels are much, much longer.

 It’s become harder for me to switch back to short story mode. In a novel, you have to make the story more complex, while the short story has a limited amount of complexity that has to be resolved in a certain number of pages. I used to write short stories all the time. The stories had to be 750 words or less. I got used to learning how to pace the story and develop it in such a short amount of space.

I have to admit, I’m a bit out of practice 😛

I now know that if I want to be a successful writer, I need to make a habit of writing short stories. Not only will it help me fine tune my writing, but it’s also another way to get myself published and earn some credits before I start sending manuscripts out.  It’ll be challenging, since my mind has been in novel mode for so long, but I’m certain I can do it.

Do you write short stories at all? If not, why? Is there anything holding you back?


I’m in one of those dreamer-type moods. Maybe it’s because it’s past midnight. Anyway…

Someday…someday I’d like to travel here.

Kakunodate, Akita, Tohoku region

This is the small village that my MC Naomi is taken to in The Scarlet Daughter. I’m not sure if the river was lined with the cherry trees back in 1890, but it definitely had the cherry blossom line streets like this picture below shows:

Cherry blossoms in the former samurai district

The trees are a few hundred years old and the streets are set up in the former samurai quarter as they would’ve been when Naomi arrived. Of course it probably wasn’t paved and there probably weren’t as many people as this was a remote village, but it would’ve looked very similar.

And the houses of course, which would be similar to the one she was brought to:

Since I can’t make it there any time soon, I’ll have to console myself with pictures online. Ah, the wonders of the internet!

Of course I can’t forget the village I’ve used as inspiration for Miyuki’s home in Lady of the Snow.

The villages of Shirakawa-go in Gifu prefecture are still very remote today. Back in the 18th century, in the winter, they would’ve been cut off from the world until spring.

Seeing this picture below, it’s no wonder:

It’s pretty easy to picture her living in a village like this, with the steep roofs that are said to resemble praying hands. The roof style is unique to the area because of the amount of snow; villagers quickly learned the necessity of making a house like that.

Even in the springtime the character of the old village isn’t lost:

Someday…someday I’ll visit both these places. The inspiration for my book’s settings.

Now I’ll just have to dream about being there 🙂

This is why I could never come up with a fantasy world–there are too many places in the real world that are more beautiful than I could imagine.

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