Episode 50: Short Story Month Kickoff

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On July 6th we celebrated 50 episodes of Write On SC with a little retrospective and also a kickoff to the Short Story Month. Here are the show notes:

Dr. Kasie Whitener, Clemson Road Creative, fiction writer

Rex Hurst, English Instructor, fiction write 

Theme for the day

Episode 50 – Yay! What’s Next? and Short Story Kickoff

Agenda

  • Where started, where we’re going
  • Other cool things that have turned 50
  • July 4th& Short Stories
opened white book
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Segment 1

The first episode was Planner or Pantser and it talked about how we come to the writing experience  — measured and purposeful or wild and emotional. The second episode about exposition. It was called Swimming Beneath the Surfaceand was one of the first three shows where me and my cousin Preston talked about fiction mechanics like narrator, point of view, and other literary stuff.

The first episode Rex was on was Episode 4: Worldbuilding in Fantasy Novels. Back then I was still trying to get you to read craft books and we featured The Seven Basic Plots, a book we came back to in a big way during our Hero’s Journey discussions.

Episode 5: Dialogue with McKendree Lonwas the first to introduce our SCWA Workshop and Patrons. Mike has been a long-time supporter of Write On SC and continues to be our  highest-contributing patron. He’s a Western fiction writer, retired military, gun enthusiast, husband, father, grandfather and even great-grandfather.

In Episode 7: Research for Writing Fiction, we introduced our second patron, Bonnie Stanard, historical fiction writer and poet Her support  meant  so much to us, too, because she’s so very accomplished and talented.

Episode 9 was me explaining science fiction (face palm) and then Episode 10focused on conflict. Really, if the story has no conflict, you don’t have a story.

By the numbers:

  • 28 episodes on craft — dialogue, exposition, etc.
  • 11 episodes on  the experience of writing — through grief, finding your voice, etc.
  • 13 episodes had special guests — Mary Sturgill, Jonathan Haupt, Tim Conroy, Cassie Premo Steele, Al Black, Savannah Friarson, Derek Berry,  Bonnie, Mike, Raegan Teller, Torie Amarie Dale, Amber Wheeler Bacon, Peggy Cwiakala (chi-CO-la), Brian Barr, JR deLorenzo
  • 6 episodes on the business side of writing

Segment  2

Other cool things that have turned 50 in 2019:

  • The Apollo moon landing
  • Sesame Street
  • The Stonewall Riots — birthplace of the LGBTQ movement
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Funyuns
  • Slaughterhouse Five
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • The Godfather
  • Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint

The importance of milestones in any effort — it’s a good idea to set a plan and follow it. That’s true of marathon training, novel writing, and business.

Write On SC is a business, it’s a podcast / radio show and craft school. Our 50th episode is a big milestone and we’re grateful for the opportunity to bring our skills and knowledge to our audience.

We also know that milestones give us something to aim for so here’s to 50 more episodes and our 100th episode being a profitable undertaking.

Some key business milestones:

  • Profitable model
  • Repeat clients
  • Realistic marketing strategy
  • Hire and train a sales team
  • Gain authority in your industry
  • Reach a significant number of sales

Whether you’re thinking of these as your book business — like Raegan Teller told us about taking Independent Authorpreneurship seriously — or any other undertaking like starting a new workshop, a new group, a new club, consider what success looks like and how do you plan to be successful at it.

Admittedly, one of my milestones for the romance novel was to finish it by June 30 and I missed that deadline. I’ll try to spend more time on it today. What deadlines or milestones have you set in your writing life? Have you hit them?

Write On SC has some goals — we’d like to get a better marketing strategy executed, earn more listeners and start selling some products. We have a plan, though, so that’s good. Look for product releases coming up n August.

Segment 3

So this was July 4th week and as it was my Nana’s favorite holiday and is my dad’s favorite as well, I get a little nostalgiac. Which is why it’s great we’re hitting a milestone so I can do some nostalgia kinds of things.

What are some great July 4th stories?

Can you think of a favorite story or novel that has a summer time theme? Or a July 4th event?

There’s a great country music song, “Independence Day” by Martina McBride. I love the idea of Independence Day as a theme.

Richard Ford published Independence Day, the sequel to his novel The Sportswriter, and won a Pulitzer for it in 1996.

This list of best short stories about Independence Day features works from John Cheever, Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor, and Ron Rash.

The Short Story is an American invention and if I’d thought about it sooner, I’d say let’s celebrate the 4th of July with an episode dedicated to short stories. This blogtalks extensively about them. It’s claimed the short story began with Washington Irving who made short stories accessible by getting rid of all the preachy morality of the parable and focusing on the entertainment value of the tall tale.

Following Irving was Edward Everett Hale’s “The Man Without A Country” a short story written during the Civil War which was an indictment of the Southern Rebellion and a reminder that a U.S. citizen’s loyalty was to the United States, not the state, region, or doctrine of separate parts. It’s considered the most widely-read short story in America. Admittedly, I have not read it.

The blog is a good one, discussing the short story at length in a dozen different versions — historic like Hale and modern like the 2017 BBC National Short Story Award winner “The Edge of the Shoal.” In this post, blogger Charles May ponders whether the short story deserves its reputation for being mysterious by excluding frivolity.

Some general short story discussion questions:

  • Does the short story have to be mercilessly edited until only what is necessary remains?
  • Are short stories a literati toy (as in only the MFAs read them) or are they accessible to the general public reader?

This article and this one make a case that digital readership lends itself to the short fiction genre. But this article suggests that the the Short Story Renaissance is a myth. Booksellers are reporting increases in sales of short story collections but the author argues the collections that earn the most are expected — Tom Hanks and JoJo Moyes wrote two of them and own 22% of the total amount of short story collection sales.

In grad school, we’re told to work on the short story. Get it right. Then maybe you’ll have the chops to write an entire novel. Ever read a novel that could have been a short story with proper editing?

Ready to support Write On SC? Go to Patreon.com/WriteOnSC to become a patron!

 

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