Random Inspirations

Welcome to my blog, full of fun inspirations and insights on writing, self-publishing, and more!

A Midsummer Night’s Reflection

on July 10, 2013

Tonight was one of the most beautiful summer nights of the year, at least in Chicago. As dusk fell and I was eating dinner, I checked out the most recent reviews of my Kindle eBook, the short story A First Time for Everything. Between the demands of wedding planning and preparing the condo for sale, my writing had been playing second (or third or fourth) fiddle, and I wanted to see what I’d missed.

I was astounded to find that First Time now has 4 1/2 stars instead of 5. The first 7 reviews were all 5 stars; they were posted by friends and random young adult readers who’d bought and liked the eBook. The eighth review, however, was…gasp…2 stars!

The author of the review was obviously an older person (as evidenced by her comment that the book was for “juvenile readers”), and she liked the writing style and content, but said the story was too short and had ended as soon as she’d “gotten into it.”

This brought me to the inevitable conclusion that I’d begun to reach before my (first ever–sob) 2 star review: When writing short stories, there is such a thing as too short! First Time was originally entered in a contest for short stories up to 3000 words, and before self-publishing it, I’d fleshed it out to over 4000 words. I figured 4000 words (roughly 15 pages) was a good length for a short story, and the plotline, characters, and conclusion seemed complete.

I began having second thoughts when Antonio pointed out the lengths of some other teen short stories on Amazon. A few were the same length as mine, but the others were 25 pages or 30 pages or–what?!!–almost 100 pages! At first, I rolled my eyes, thinking about the “short stories” I’d grown up reading. What the heck is a hundred-page short story? A novella?

But I guess this review was a wake-up call. People say teens have short attention spans (Don’t we all?), but there is such a thing as too short. That’s why I’m taking the time to add to the new short story I’m writing. It’s super-fun Amish teen fiction with dynamic characters, but obviously, 15 pages is too short. And I want everyone, whether a true YA reader or an older adult who still thinks of YA fiction as “Juvenile Fiction” to feel satisfied at the end.

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2 responses to “A Midsummer Night’s Reflection

  1. Eric says:

    Hey, you got your first hater! Take it as a sign of your impending success, yeah? You’ll never be able to please everyone, so why even try? I always assume any book on Amazon will only have 4.5 stars because of those people. Don’t worry about them and keep doing what you’re doing.

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