May marks Short Story Month.
I had heard this for the past few years but didn’t know where it started. I mean there is a day or month out there for everything – Donut Day, Naked Gardening Day, Breast Cancer Awareness month, Autism Awareness month and so on.
According to Poets & Writers webpage, The Emerging Writers Network kicked off the Short Story month in 2007.
They felt we should showcase short stories – as in stories that could be read in one sitting. Now there isn’t an official number of words that constitutes a short story but the general consensus online is that a short story is between 1000 and 7,500 words.
Hmmm….this means the “short” story I published in 2012 is not really a short story by this definition. I wrote The Search as a prequel to my fantasy trilogy The Elemental. It is 12,200 words. According to the internet, my story is a novelette which is between 7,500 to 20,000 words. (To find out more about the length difference in a short story, a novella and a novel, click here.)
Of course, I have found sites out there that list a short story as anything between 1,000 and 20,000 words. So I guess I will go with this definition because when you compare The Search to my novels which are 81,000+ words, 12,000 is definitely short in my book. It is after all 15% of the length of a full length novel.
In honor of Short Story Month, let me share with you an excerpt of my “short” story The Search.
You can also purchase it for 99 cents on Amazon.
For over a thousand years, telepathic cats known as STACs have faithfully searched for those with power over the elements looking for the one foretold to save the Land. None have questioned their duty to fulfill this ancient task.
But when Tosh’s latest charge is murdered because of his Elemental powers, Tosh considers abandoning The Search. Will a glimpse of the future destruction be enough to change his mind?
The horse’s hooves thundered across the ground. Tosh dug his claws into the saddle as his back legs threatened to slip off. A firm hand pressed against his side, pulling him closer toward the young man behind him. Feeling safer, Tosh leaned out to see the terrain up ahead. He blinked his eyes in disbelief at what he saw.
You can’t be serious.
“We can make it,” Nolan said, speaking directly into his mind.
Tosh looked up at him, but Nolan wasn’t looking at the ravine. He was looking over his shoulder at the three men on horseback chasing them. Tosh caught a glimpse of a hefty man with a red beard leaning forward, urging his mount to run faster. He clearly was gaining on them. Tosh looked at the ravine before them.
It is too far for her to jump.
“Ah come on, Tosh. She’ll do just fine.”
Tosh sighed. Nolan rarely listened to any advice he gave him unless it coincided with something that Nolan already wanted to do. Knowing there was no way and no time to change the young man’s mind, Tosh curled up against him. He dug his claws deeper into the saddle and wrapped his tail protectively around his body. He felt Nolan lean forward as the mare’s hooves left the ground. He closed his eyes, counting the seconds until he felt the mare land on the other side. She stumbled slightly, and Tosh opened his eyes to see a small section of ground at the ravine’s edge fall.
Nolan reined in the mare and turned to look back at the ravine and the approaching men. Tosh glanced up and saw the look of concentration on his face. Suddenly, the ground shook. The edge of the ravine crumbled. Rocks and dirt fell until the gorge was three feet wider than it had been moments earlier. The men pursuing them pulled their mounts to a halt at the edge of the gorge.
“You won’t get away from us,” the redhead yelled.
Nolan raised his hand and waved before urging the mare toward the forest. Tosh glanced back to see the men swearing as they eyed the ravine which now was clearly too wide for them to jump. As they entered the forest, Nolan slowed the mare to a walk.
“That was amazing,” he said with a chuckle.
You’re lucky the mare made it.
“Oh, Tosh, you worry too much,” he said ruffling Tosh’s fur.
Tosh turned to glare at him and then proceeded to lick the fur back into the correct direction. We wouldn’t have had to find out if she could make it if you just learn to control your temper.
Tosh didn’t really expect Nolan ever to learn to do that. He had been trying to drill that lesson into him since he was a headstrong teenager but to no avail.
“I know. I know. And stop using my Elemental power in front of others,” Nolan said with a sigh. “Why shouldn’t I use it?”
I have never said you shouldn’t use it. You just need to decide when it is wise to do so.
“So using it to defend myself isn’t wise?”
Defending yourself is one thing. Picking fights is another. Tosh sighed. I guess this means we are moving again.
“But first we have to go pick up our belongings.”
They circled back toward the town. When they entered it an hour later, Tosh kept an eye out for the men, but the streets were nearly empty. No one paid them any attention as Nolan stopped before the boarding house where they had been staying. Tosh remained on the mare as Nolan ran upstairs to gather their things. Within minutes, the young man had returned, and they were on their way out of town.