Category Archives: mind reader

What do you <3 or hate about short stories?

Every form of fiction has its benefits and its drawbacks. I’d like to explore each kind one at a time. In my previous pros/cons post I wrote about novels. Feel free to add your thoughts to the discussion there.

But what about other forms of fiction? They have different benefits and drawbacks of their own, along with the shared features of novels.

Short Stories

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Benefits:

  • They are short.  🙂  Short stories are perfect for those afternoon breaks when you have only a few minutes to yourself, but you really need to escape.
  • Many times they come in collections of other short stories, giving you many different worlds to experience in one sitting.
  • They interface with your imagination.  🙂  You get no pictures (or few, usually), and you aren’t actually involved in the story, but you get to take what you read and make it real for you.
  • You can read them any time you’re free of distractions.
  • Other benefits?

Drawbacks:

  • They are short.  🙂  If you want to explore a world in depth with subplots and secondary characters, you’re not going to get much chance here.
  • Endings, often done as “twists” or abrupt conclusions, can be difficult to create and sometimes difficult to believe.
  • They can’t show you anything that you can’t imagine. If the author fails to explain approximately how large the monster is, then the reader either has to make that part up or feel lost.
  • It can be difficult to enjoy them when there are noisy people nearby.
  • Other drawbacks?

What else?

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Novels and short stories and plays! (omai)

Not all writing is created equal, I’ve found. I have worked on many varieties of wordsmithing throughout my studies and my career, and each version has different needs and offers different things.

The three most common (traditional) projects I work on are short stories, novels, and plays.

Short stories are like bright ideas that appear in a flash and stay for a while, playfully and periodically lighting up on my computer screen at unplanned moments. I have a lot of fun with short stories. They feel like snacks between meals, and I take my time with them. I like how compact they can be, like a booklight that folds up into a convenient size for luggage. I bring my short story ideas with me everywhere, and I play with them whenever the mood hits. Though they may take a long time to complete to my satisfaction, they rarely become tangled messes or require elaborate outlining. For me, short stories are pure fun.

Novels are different. These are writing experiences that feel like boring through dark tunnels, seeking precious light at the end of long and twisted journeys. I love working on novels. These aren’t just my snacks or my meals; they’re the entire kitchen and dining room, and the bread and salad and wine that go with the entrée. A novel is a commitment to time and energy and love. It can get scary and frustrating and even impossible without a good plan, but the payoff at the end is emotionally rewarding. Most authors, published and un, will agree that the success we feel from finishing such a novel is wonderful beyond words.

For both novels and short stories, I find that I need to see my paragraphs on the screen in order to understand how they work together. In other words, I don’t think I could dictate fiction to someone else to type out for me. Somewhere along the way I would get lost without my visual cues. In addition to that, I normally read a page or two aloud to myself as I work on first drafts and revisions just to get a different sense of the flow. This helps me hear words that might be off or misplaced, when my eye would have failed to notice.

Plays take me somewhere else entirely. When I work on a play I am both closer to my characters and farther away from them. It’s as if they’re half in shadow, half in sunlight, as I explore their feelings and reactions, but I keep an almost equal distance between the entire cast. It’s a tough act to perform, like juggling apples and bananas and oranges all at the same time. I have to handle each one properly and fairly, but I can’t hesitate too long or everything tumbles down. The theatre is one of my first true loves, and I cherish every minute I spend considering questions such as, “Will this set be possible or practical?” and “How can I get this actor off stage to change costumes?” in addition to the normal plotting questions that come up when working with fiction.

I also have to read my work aloud when I write a play, of course. However, I do it differently. If I don’t have someone else around (my husband, my brother, other friends) who can act, I sometimes have to record myself reading the lines into a microphone. For some reason I can listen to my words for short stories or novels aloud as I speak them, and I can feel my way through the proper flow. But with plays I need to sit back as an audience member and listen to the way the words sound from there – and that requires either willing friends or a recorder.

Sometimes (right now) I’m working on all three at once. This might seem overwhelming and potentially confusing, but it works for me to be able to change gears every day or two. I like to have multiple projects going at the same time so that my stories always feel fresh when I return to them.

What about you?  🙂  Are you a writer or a reader (or an audience member)? Do you have a preferred format to write or enjoy? What does it mean to you?

Dead Fairies

“I found the dead fairy on our back porch during last week’s spring cleaning.”

From “An Emmet Lost,” by Irene L. Pynn

The January print edition of Golden Visions Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy arrived in my mailbox this week, and it contains a story I wrote called “An Emmet Lost.” If you like dead fairies, then this might be the piece of short fiction for you. 🙂 If not, there is plenty of other fantastic content to check out.

This publication is packed with original fiction, reviews, articles, and more. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys SF/F, and I’m very happy to have my work appearing in Golden Visions for a second time (the first was with a short story called “Mind Reader”).

If you get a chance to take a look, please let me know what you think!

Pets and Books

Well, the vacation at the beach is nearly over, and I’m actually a bit glad. It’s been lots of fun, but I woke up this morning half-expecting my dog to jump up on my belly and lick my face, asking to be let outside.

Then I felt homesick.

My pets amount to one dog, two cats, and two goldfish.

Our dog is a maltipoo (Maltese and toy poodle mix) named Sprocket, after a character in Fraggle Rock. He’s just under two years old, and his best friend is –

Coretta, our kitten. She’s a little calico we rescued from the streets, and the most loving animal I’ve ever met. When Sprocket goes outside, she cries as if her heart is breaking, and when he returns, she leaps on top of him – paws outstretched – to play. They’re absolutely perfect together.

Watching over them is our other cat, Othello. He looks like a miniature panther, and he can usually be found lounging on the couch or the tile floor, observing playtime between the others, once in a while even jumping into the fray himself. He’s my little soul mate from the animal kingdom, so we spend a lot of time together. Sometimes he sits on my keyboard to let me know it’s time to snuggle!

Frida and Pituka are our goldfish. Coretta loves to watch them from the floor. She looks up with calm interest and tilts her head from side to side, as if trying to understand why they’re in the water all the time.

So today, though I’m having a wonderful time getting away from it all, I’m starting to miss home a little. I’ll be happy to see my pets when I’m back!

I’m also getting ready for February, when I plan to do my own, personal NaNoWriMo. My goal will be to finish a first draft of my next novel before March. So that means I need to start plotting now!

If you have any thoughts about From Light to Dark that you’d like to share, I’m always happy to hear them.

Also, be sure to take a look at my silly meme answers to Heidi Ruby Miller’s “Pick Six” interview. You’ll get to learn all about my obsession with cartoons.

It’s cold outside!

Today I’m battling a spotty hotel Internet connection and watching classic movies on mute. It’s a brief, chilly vacation, but there’s something about being away from everything for a day or two that helps recharge the mental batteries.

Because I’m evidently out of my mind, I’ll be enjoying the Florida beaches – in windy January weather. Wish me luck!

The response I’m getting to From Light to Dark is fantastic. I’m so pleased to hear from people who enjoyed it.

If you haven’t yet been over to Heidi Ruby Miller’s page to see my “Heidi’s Pick Six” interview, give it a look! Let me know what you think.

In other news, today is my fiancé’s birthday. Happy birthday, Rob! ☺

Now, to find a sweater in my luggage so I don’t freeze on the beach…

From Light to Dark

Finally I can update again!

Welcome to the new-fangled, redesigned, risen-from-the-ashes-of-webwork-oblivion, irenelpynn.com. It’s good to have a change once in a while, I say. How do you like the new look?

There’s more to announce, so I’ll get right to that and try to keep my post short and sweet this time:

First off, the wait is over for my fantasy novel, From Light to Dark. It has been released and is available right now from Wild Child Publishing!

The people of Light World and Dark World live in fear of one another, blindly hating what they don’t understand, until Eref leaves Light World and meets the beautiful Caer—in Dark World. Suddenly, the worlds are thrown into chaos as Eref and Caer struggle to do what is right.

Marked for death, the two teens must work together against an evil institution that has kept Light World and Dark World apart for hundreds of years.

I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to send me your thoughts.

It’s very exciting to be able to announce that fellow Seton Hill University grad Heidi Ruby Miller has interviewed me for her “Heidi’s Pick Six” author series! Come learn a bit more about me here:
http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com/2009/01/heidis-pick-six-irene-l-pynn.html

Also, I was recently honored to be the Featured Author at Golden Visions Magazine, and my short story, “Mind Reader,” was published in their print edition toward the end of 2008.

Here’s hoping that 2009 welcomes you in with open (if chilly) arms, and that you realize something wonderful about yourself this year. Happy reading, and Happy Inauguration Day!