Without question the most common question asked of an author after the release of a new book is (in one form or another) “So what are you working on now?”
With the release of Eyewitness Blues only a month in the rear-view – I’ll save you the trouble of asking.
I am working on, and almost finished with a collection of short stories about Ike. (Who is Ike? Click here.)
Actually – I started working on it just before Christmas 2013 when I needed a short story to read at The Inspired Mic (an open mic night for writers here in Flagler Beach). Since the event was taking place two weeks before Christmas I decided to write a Christmas themed story. It was a fun little piece called Don’t Call Me Carol and the audience really enjoyed it.
Around the same time I submitted a short story to a horror anthology called State of Horror: New Jersey and the organizer suggested I start an anthology of my own, maybe writing one story for each holiday throughout the coming year and releasing it before the following Christmas.
I thought it was a good idea, but I wasn’t sure I’d have time since I was in the middle of writing Eyewitness Blues.
Then, quite serendipitously, I came across a quote from Ray Bradbury ( a pretty good writer) which said “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”
It made sense so I decided to give it a try. (Here’s a blog post I wrote about this anthology while it was still in its infancy)
I had already written the Christmas story, so I followed up with a New Year’s story. The “one story per week” goal was a bit ambitious for me while simultaneously working on a novel, but I wrote as many as I could…
Now that I’m nearing completion of the project I understand Bradbury’s logic about the short story.
He believed that writing short stories teaches a writer to be constantly looking for ideas. He also said “every week you’ll be happy, because by the end of each week you’ll have something to show for your efforts.”
Not surprisingly – he was right. I really enjoyed the entire process and I’ll probably keep doing it and maybe release a collection of Ike stories every year.
Then there was an added bonus…In addition to the stories I’ve written I’ve also received a few stories from other authors about Ike. The fact that other writers wanted to write stories about my character was pretty cool. How could I say no?
I plan to release the collection before Christmas.
Originally I had planned to call it An Ike for all Seasons…but an Ike quote from one of the stories gave me the perfect title. The quote, as spoken by Ike, was “The shortest distance between two points is the path of a bullet.”
There was an a-ha moment as soon as I wrote it…I knew I had the title of the book.
The Path of a Bullet
Then…another serendipitous moment…a photographer friend of mine (Marina Pierre) shared this image on facebook…
As soon as I saw it I knew I had my book cover.
To quote one of my favorite movie characters (Oddball – played brilliantly by Donald Sutherland – in Kelly’s Heroes)…
As always – thank you for reading
9 responses to “How a Quote from Ray Bradbury Turned into My Next Project”
“The shortest distance between two points is the path of a bullet.”
That’s just way cool. Congrats on the short stories. I wish I had that sort of discipline. I waste a lot of time.
Thanks! It’s kind of addictive once you start writing them!
That is one amazing image of a bullet. Your friend takes a great picture.
She is one of the most gifted photographers I have ever met!
Yay!! is all I can say to this! I’m addicted to Ike!
And the good news is that there is no cure!
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I love your short stories idea – it’s inspiring. I’ve written two novels but I’m not good at short stories. At least, that’s my excuse. You have me thinking, good sir. Thank you!
Have fun with it, John!!