Tag Archives: ray bradbury

How a Quote from Ray Bradbury Turned into My Next Project

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.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

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…

Path of a Bullet cover

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)…

oddball

As always – thank you for reading

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Making a Long Story Short

Recently Armand Rosamilia and I were talking and he planted a seed in my mind about writing a short story, featuring my main character Ike, for a local event here in Flagler Beach called The Inspired Mic.

The Inspired Mic is basically an open mic night for authors, and Armand thought it would be a good idea for me to read a new short story rather than an excerpt from one of my existing novels.

program

I agreed and wrote the story. It was an Ike Christmas story, and I had fun writing it.

It was very well received, and I enjoyed writing it so much that I wrote another one (just for fun, I told myself) about New Year’s Eve.

After the second one was done Armand suggested writing one for each of the holidays and releasing them in an anthology. I thought it was a good idea and since there were a couple of months before the next holiday (St. Patrick’s Day) I returned my focus to my current work-in-progress – a novel with the working title Protect This.

Then, a few days later, somebody posted a quote from Ray Bradbury on facebook that threw a wrench into my gears.

The quote said “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

short story

It appealed to me for a few reasons;

  • It could be a nice weekly distraction from writing a novel
  • It would be an extension/improvement of Armand’s idea
  • It would help me learn more about Ike and share it with his fans

Ike shirt front

My plan was simple: Each week I would write the short story on Saturday, leaving me Sunday and any free weeknights for working on the novel.

Saturday morning I sat down at the computer with the idea for my weekly short story and started writing. After 7 hours I was ready to quit and watch some TV but the story was only 2/3 finished.

snoopy

No problem…I’ll finish it up first thing in the morning and then dive into the novel.

Not so much…

It took me the better part of Sunday to finish, and by the time I was done I just didn’t have the mental energy to change gears and work on the novel.

So here we are three weeks later and my novel is in a holding pattern – but I’ve written three good stories for the anthology – so I’ve got that going for me.

I’ve also got a cool idea for story number four…and I had an idea for a cool quasi-horror short story…

I may need to cancel my cable TV account.

As always – thanks for reading

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