More importantly, why write holiday short stories?
I cut my teeth by writing short stories. I hadn’t tried until my RWA chapter friend and I joined forces to critique each other’s work. She asked me to read very short stories, like less than 1,000 words to sub to Women’s World magazine. Feeling a little out of my comfort zone, I thought can I do this, but said yes!
Am I glad I did!
I read six of her stories in a row and all of the sudden, a rhythm, a pattern developed in my head. I jotted down ideas and when back to them to explore. Some exploded into a story with the pattern there to guide it. Eventually, I created a few of my own shorts which came in over 1,000 words. I subbed to the True magazines and sold thirteen of them.
Here’s what my head knows:
- Black Moment
- The End
We all know a bang-up beginning hooks a reader into reading more. The main characters and setting are introduced. In a short story, pretty quickly we reach a dilemma to be resolved.
In the middle, there’s relationship building if the story is a romantic one. Problems are created and lead the reader to…
The black moment. All is lost. The relationship. The problem is dire.
Then we have the scenes which resolve everything leading us to The End and a Happy Ever After.
Does this sound rather simplistic? Many people say they can’t write short. I found with the word count limitation, I learned how to write shorter. Which scenes really make the story move forward. Which adjectives and adverbs (yes, I use them) are the best. Or maybe there is something more appropriate to use.
Which leads us to…
My new holiday romantic comedy short story, “The Littlest Angel,” from the Season of Promises anthology. I have a tree-topper that is totally precious and I looked at her one day and said, “I want to write a story with you in it.”
So I did.
Bright and early on Saturday morning, I walked along the aisle at my favorite flea market on the Sommerville fairgrounds, pausing to look at special goodies that caught my eye. I halted when I saw a woman ahead of me stoop in front of a table and drag a box to her feet. She reached inside the ragged cardboard container and pulled out something I knew deep within my heart was what I’d been hoping to find for several years—a little Christmas angel.
Please. Please don’t take her. Please don’t.
When I was a small child, my family’s next-door neighbor gave my mother an angel fashioned from a craft kit. The body was formed from a Styrofoam egg-shape. The hands and feet were smaller versions, cut in half. Her head was round. The limbs were attached to the body with furry, fleshy pink pipe cleaners. A round red sequin made her mouth. An even tinier one was pinned on for her nose. And silver lashes were glued in place for her eyes. White pincurls covered her head and silver wings were attached to her back.
For many, many years, I coveted this angel. When my mom switched to another tree-topper, I’d begged for the first, but she’d said no. I was disappointed, but thought, perhaps Mom’s sentiments, a letting go of her friend who’d passed two years prior, made her reluctant to give me the doll. I got that.
However, one day, I discovered she had given it to my sister instead of me. Saddened, my heart cracked in two, and when I asked Mom why, she said she’d forgotten I wanted the ornament and apologized.
I knew the angel didn’t mean as much to my sibling as she did to me. For a while, I resented my mother and my sister.
Such is life. And thus began my quest.
Find Season of Promises at: https://www.amazon.com/Season-Promise-Merry-Holly-ebook/dp/B01LQUP9AS/