Turning Short Stories into Novels.
It seems I am not the only writer with an inability to keep a short-story short. I have just finished reading Aussie science fiction legend George Turner’s collection of longish short- stories A Pursuit of Miracles. The book’s 207 pages contain only eight stories, most of them novella length, three of which Turner later turned into novels. One of the stories went on to become Genetic Soldiers, which I mentioned in my last post. Another became his Arthur C. Clarke award winner The Sea and Summer.
One of the two novel manuscripts I have written started off as a novella. Recently I managed to keep a short story to 7,000 words, but my previous attempt blew out to 15,000 words. I think part of the difficulty with writing short science fiction stories is creating a compelling world within limited words. When I critiqued stories on critters.org I was always asking for more detail about the world a writer was attempting to create.
The brilliant collection The Locus Awards – Thirty Years of the Best in Fantasy and Science Fiction - has only 18 stories, most of them novella length, in its 674 pages. In contrast I have lost interest in magazines that are full of 2,000 – 5,000 word stories.
New Divine Articles.
I have been busy this week writing an article for Divine Magazine. It is about how various organisations define disability. It required a far bit of research of a pretty dry subject. I have been trying to figure out how to write it in an interesting and enjoyable way. I am not sure whether I have succeeded with the draft I completed on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the editor of Divine is happy with my next two ideas for articles. And happily for me, both will involve minimal research, as one is a review of a book that I have already read and the other is from personal experience.
Regenesis, a new to Australia science fiction series, started on FX on Foxtel last week. I thought its writers must have watched the movie Contagion as the opening of the first episode mirrored the movie’s enthralling opening sequence showing how easily a virus can be spread. But when I checked, Regenesis went to air in 2004, well before Contagion was made. Regenesis is set in a Canadian bio-terrorism unit. Four seasons of the series were made.
Falling Skies is Improving.
I have been wondering whether the writers of Falling Skies have been watching the brilliant zombie series The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead is notable for the absence of gung-ho characters and rebellious teenagers. I think its writers reckon that such foolish characters would quickly be killed by zombies. In the last episode of Falling Skies screened on Foxtel, one teenager died and one gung-ho character, whose antics invited death, was expelled from the group of survivors.