Vignettes vs. Short Stories

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Four More Episodes
* Rare Book Signing Event
* Vignettes, Short Stories, and the Challenge
* Bradbury Challenge Writers Reporting
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“What does it matter if I’m 23 or 53? I’m making stories up, not fighting fires or digging ditches under a steady rain.” George Kordonis, on starting to write fiction seriously at 53.

“Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.” Carl Sandburg (stolen from Dan Baldwin’s Writing Tip of the Week, which will be featured here as a guest post sometime in the next few days.

“Nothing tears a reader out of a story faster than a mistake about something they know well.” Sue Coletta, award-winning Crime writer

“Jesus. I think I’d let her shoot me just so she would be the last thing I’d ever see.” Character jeremy Stiles, looking at a woman in Chapter 19 of Blackwell Ops 10: Jeremy Stiles: The Way Things Go. (grin)

Four More Episodes

I uploaded four more episodes (chapters) to Vella yesterday morning. Chapters 17 through 20.

The Blackwell Ops novels are fun to write. Each one is basically a collection of short stories, each covering one to three or four chapters.

All the stories in a book feature one main character and a slew of supporting cast, including the target of the main character’s latest assignment. Great fun to write.

I’m actually thinking about opening up the Blackwell Ops world to other writers if any of you are interested.

If you’re into writing psychological suspense and might enjoy writing Every Man or Woman main characters who have an odd profession or secondary profession in which s/he is a very talented, knowledgable, and well-paid assassin, email me.

If you want a taste, you can find the first three episodes of Blackwell Ops 10: Jeremy Stiles FREE at

Rare Book Signing Event

I don’t get out much, but if any of you will be in Bisbee Arizona on Saturday, September 23, I’ll be signing Wes Crowley paperbacks at Zearings from 12 to 3 p.m.

Tip: Another Thing I’m Doing Now

I’m paranoid about writing a few thousand words, then losing all that due to whatever happened during a glitch in the electronic universe.

So now when I first start writing a novel, for example, “Title.docx” I immediately save it as “Title.docx 1” also, most often in a different storage device, like my little external hard drive.

Afterward, every time I finish a chapter (1000 to 1500 words) I click Save As, then click “Title.docx 1” and hit Enter. A little pop up says the document already exists and asks whether I want to replace it. I click Yes and It saves.

Then, to get back to the original document, I click Save As again and do the same for “Title.docx”. It takes only a few seconds and gives me great peace of mind.

Vignettes, Short Stories, and the Challenge

I received a nice email with a question. The writer wondered whether a vignette would count for the challenge.

A vignette or “slice of life” is to a short story (or novella or novel) what a memoir is to an autobiography.

The typical memoir covers a particular event or specific time period during the memoirist’s life, whereas the autobiography is usually all-encompassing, cradle to hearse.

Likewise, whereas a short story is about One Event, a novella is about A Few Interrelated Events and a novel is about More Interrelated Events Than That, a vignette is usually about One Part of One Event (hence, slice of life).

Being about complete Events, short stories, novellas and novels also include all four story elements: Setting, Character, Conflict, and Resolution.

That’s where the vignette differs. Being only a slice of life (being about only part of an event) it always lacks Resolution. Often, it will lack Conflict as well, or the conflict will only be implied.

As some of you know, I recently expanded the ongoing Bradbury Challenge to also report weekly numbers for those who are writing novels instead of short stories.

So do vignettes count for the Challenge? Sure. In fact, so does flash fiction, which I consider a complete short story (Setting, Characters, Conflict, Resolution) in 100 words or fewer, including the title

As always, please send your information in this format, no commas necessary. Then I won’t have to delete them: Title xxxx (word count) Genre Name.

Don’t include (word count). Just the number.

And yes, you can send info on more than one story in a week if you want to. For example, Alexander Nakul sent info on four short stories this week.

And of course you can participate in your own challenge privately without reporting numbers to anyone. But especially in my early days as a serious fiction writer I found reporting my numbers to someone else helped keep me writing. Just sayin’.

Bradbury Challenge Writers Reporting

Anyone can jump in and join the challenge at any time. This is a great way to jumpstart your writing and get more practice pushing down the critical voice.

There’s no cost.

Notice, there’s also no pressure re submitting or publishing. That’s up to you. I just want to help you enable the sheer fun of writing and learning to keep track.

During the past week, in addition to whatever other fiction they’re writing, the following writers reported their progress:

Short Fiction

  • Erin Donoho “Two Village Girls” 860 Historical Fiction
  • Loyd Jenkins “Meeting a Friend” 1790 SF
  • George Kordonis “The Library” 1566 Urban Fantasy
  • *Alexander Nakul “Amelia learns” 2073 Erotic Fantasy
  • *Alexander Nakul “A windfall for a night demon” 2774 Erotic Fantasy
  • *Alexander Nakul “One more lesson for Amelia” 1468 Erotic Fantasy
  • *Alexander Nakul “What did the rapier sing about?” 3013 Erotic Fantasy
  • Chynna Pace “The Clinging Place” 1674 Paranormal
  • Christopher Ridge “The New Neighbors” 4500 Horror
  • K.C. Riggs “I Am” 2119 Magical Realism

*(Alexander Nakul also provided a live link for these stories, but all are in Russian and there is no page-translation capability. If you would like to read them, email me and I will send you the links.)

Longer Fiction

  • Balázs Jámbor Trilogy of the Lora Stories (novel) 4000 (8000 total to date) Fantasy
  • Alexander Nakul Horses of Mayhem (novel) 5114 (9384 total to date) Historical Fantasy

Congratulations to all for having fun with their writing.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Raymond Chandler”

See “What Does Coffee Taste Like?”

The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 1050

Writing of Blackwell Ops 10: Jeremy Stiles
The Way Things Go

Day 11…. 3025 words. To date…… 29255
Day 12…. 2649 words. To date…… 31904

Fiction for September…………………… 43886
Fiction for 2023………………………… 196195
Fiction since August 1………………… 106208
Nonfiction for September……………… 14700
Nonfiction for the year……………… 189170
Annual consumable words………… 385365

2023 Novels to Date……………………… 3
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 74
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)… 232
Short story collections…………………… 31

Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.