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

Posts tagged ‘short story’

Word Count Misconceptions

I’ve been working on a basic summary for my short story for the Writer’s Digest competition. As much as I wanted to just throw myself into it and write, I couldn’t do it 😛 I guess I’m a plotter at heart, even when I’m writing a story less than 10K.

I used to write flash fiction–less than 1000 words–and those I generally just threw myself in and wrote, but much more than that and I find I need a basic map.

Of course, after I came up with this “map” for the short story (tentatively titled “The Bog Witch”) I realized it was much too long–and detailed. I threw too much into a story that has a max word count of 4K–which is only a little over 10 pages double spaced. That’s really not that much when you think about it. I somehow thought that 4K was a lot longer than that but no 😛

I’ve had misconceptions about my word count before too. For example, my first NaNo draft of The Scarlet Daughter ended up being over 100K–and I still had a good quarter of the book to reach “the end.” I’ve gotten a little better at judging word count, realizing that I tend to venture into the “too wordy” category all too often. Still, I think I may be a little off in estimating word count in the beginning.

Staying within the limits of word count guidelines, whether for contests, freelance writing, agent/editor submissions, etc. is extremely important. An agent does not want to see in your query that your romance novel is 250K long. And for contests and submissions to magazines or other literary journals, going over word count is a sure way to receive an automatic rejection. Yes, there are some exceptions, mainly when it comes to novels, but I’d still be wary of having a 300K novel, especially if you’re a first-time, unpublished author.

Do you ever over or under estimate your word count?

Excerpt Monday for August

It’s time for another Excerpt Monday!

This month’s excerpt is actually a short story I wrote for the FaithWriters Weekly Challenge a few years ago. The entries are judged and the top 10 are posted in a quarterly anthology. This was my first entry and somehow, it actually placed and was published in the anthology Inspiration at Your Fingerstips. Oh and part of the challenge is to be able to write a complete story in 750 words or less. This one managed to hit 678 words. Anyway, short stories aren’t my strong point but here it is anyway. It’s called “The Voice.”


The Voice

Help me. Someone…anyone…please.

Mary’s body twisted and writhed in reply to her thoughts, the seven otherworldly voices overwhelming any semblance of function.

No one will help you.
You are ours forever.
Give up. You are worthless.

She screamed, tearing at her hair, scratching at her arms, trying anything to escape the torment of her soul. Clumps of hair landed on the ground at her feet and her arms were red, bleeding, and bruised. They were right. She had no hope to clear her mind, her body, her soul from this constant presence of evil, no matter how hard she fought it.

How did this happen to me? Why has this happened? Adonai, where are you in all of this?

At the mention of Adonai, the demons were quick to respond.

Forget God. You are nothing to him.
You will never escape our reach.

“Nooooooooo!” This time, she tried to run, but the demons took control of her legs and slammed her body into the ground, hard enough for her to taste the saltiness of blood in her mouth. Evil laughter followed as the demons reveled in the pain they caused her.

You can never escape us.

She lay motionless where she had fallen, her strength completely gone. Death would be better than a life wrought by torment and suffering.

Adonai, help me. Take away my suffering. Let me die here.

Scattered memories of her life flashed through her mind. They were of warmth, love, and laughter, everything life was meant to be. The visions from her past renewed her will to live, giving her the tiniest fragment of hope.

As if sensing her will to fight, the voices returned with more power than before, screaming and yelling horrifically within in her mind. They moved her limbs, making her scratch her face harder and tear at her clothes. Terrible sounds came from her mouth that could only have come from the depths of hell itself.

But Mary refused to let go. She had received an answer from Adonai in her memories and she must trust that He would send someone—

Before she could think any further, a sudden bright light appeared in her vision. The light emanated warmth that Mary had never felt before. The yearning in her soul was so overwhelming that it gave her strength to overwhelm the voices in her head, the first time that she could remember since they had invaded her body. She ran towards the presence, desperate for the help it promised.

A voice came from the light. “Mary of Magdala, do not be afraid.”

She was held by someone and surrounded by many, and she felt her body quiver violently. The demons inside were afraid.

“We know who you are!” The seven demons screeched. “You are the Son of the Most High!”

“Be silent and come out of her!” came the voice of her rescuer.

Mary’s body convulsed fiercely as they struggled against this mighty power. Their shrieks pierced the air as they were cast from her body. She suddenly went limp as the last one left her, leaving her in darkness. Yet the darkness was overcome as Mary awakened to a voice.

“Mary, my daughter, you are healed.”

She turned her head toward the voice and opened her eyes. No longer did she see the heavenly light but instead gazed into the eyes of an ordinary man. But his eyes were different; his eyes saw the depths of her heart. One look and she felt as if he’d known her before the beginning of time.

She could not find the words to express her joy. Tears flowed down her face uncontrollably.
She looked at the man again, captured by the depth of love in his eyes. His voice had freed her soul from bondage. His eyes had given her hope once again. Within her soul, she knew that God had come to her and cared for her. And He was standing there in front of her, opening a path to a life renewed and restored.


Check out some of the other Excerpt Monday participants (remember to heed the ratings :)):

AJ Donovan, Poetry (PG13)

Caitlynn Lowe, Epic Fantasy (PG13)

Kaige, Historical Romance (PG13)

Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG13)

Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG)

For the full list, check out the Excerpt Monday blog.

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