The Season for Short Stories

Yes, I’m one of those people who perk up in the Spring when flowers start blooming, rain showers make the new grass greener and the trees fluff out with foliage. I’m also a writer who finds this season inspiring. Over the last several years I’ve started a new book project almost every Spring. So it is that the blogs for this month are offered to encourage YOU—and me—not only to start a new project, but to see it through to publication by years’ end and even begin the next one!

Somewhere in the multitudinous notes I’ve taken during writing conference workshops, I jotted the words SEASON-SPECIFIC GREETING CARDS WILL INSPIRE YOUR NEW BOOK. The scribbled thought just below this sentence reads: Short-stories lead to novels. I did not make reference to which presenter shared this bit of inspiration. However, I’m thankful these two ideas stayed with me. Here are a few thoughts from my continuing research—and the greeting card topics I’ve collected.

filing system

  • Start a collection of your favorite greeting cards and file them according to MONTH. Highlight words and phrased that are season-specific. For example:
    • January starts off with a bang celebrating the New Year. Although I rarely receive a card wishing me a “Happy New Year” that sentiment is often included on Christmas cards and friends express their hopes and plans for their new year. Take note of activities and events your family and friends have (and hope to have) experienced.
    • FAITH celebrations in January include a variety of traditions around The Epiphany—aka Three Kings Day. This is an early-in-the-year reminder for writers that short stories based on traditional family ways of acknowledging Faith adds excellent depth to many writing projects.
    • January also brings the remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. For the writer who is developing a “true-life” story, adding a character’s perspective about such National Holidays will add reality and complexity to their story-lives.
  • Follow this pattern of card-collecting discovery for every month of the year(s). In this month of June there are three (3) main holidays:
    • Ramadan (observed by Muslims worldwide to remember the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad);
    • FLAG DAY (commemorating the adoption of our United States flag);
    • and Father’s Day (honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society).
    • EACH of these season-specific TOPICS—touching on Faith, Patriotism and Personal Relationships—are excellent subjects to for short story writing.

One of my favorite quotes about writing short stories is this: “The best short stories should haunt you for days and weeks.” Then a couple years ago, I clipped this quote from Entertainment Weekly relating to a new George Saunders’ collection of short stories: [These stories are a] “master of joy bombs: little explosions of grin-stimulating genius that he buries throughout his deeply thoughtful, endlessly entertaining flights of imagination”.

And, there you have it! Our short stories must be written with great genius—visually imaginative “joy bombs” balanced with thought-provoking insights—so that our Readers cannot stop thinking about them. Then, when they’re published in a collection our writing reputations will precede us into the world of novel writing! ⚓︎


RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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