Short Story Connect discussion

Carla Sarett
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FEATURED AUTHOR 2014 - 2016 > Featured Author Discussion - Carla Sarett - Oct 30-Nov 12

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message 1: by DigiWriting (new)

DigiWriting | 523 comments Mod
Join us on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, for a special discussion with author Carla Sarett: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... If you have a question for her, please post it in this thread, where Carla will be discussing her writing and books.

Remember - you can post questions here throughout the duration of the Featured Author Read at any time!

Looking forward to the discussion!


message 2: by Talia (new)

Talia Crockett  | 52 comments Hello Carla! I'm a big fan of short fiction, and was wondering what you consider to be the biggest challenge when creating it. How do you overcome this challenge in your work? Thanks!


message 3: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Hi, if anyone would like a free copy of THE ART COLLECTION, please feel free to use Smashwords Coupon Code KB48H

Link is here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...


These are three previously published stories involving art and art forgery.


message 4: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Hey Talia, I think the biggest challenge in short fiction has to be the ending. In a novel, not everything hangs on the end but in a short story, if the ending is weak, everything falls apart.


message 5: by Talia (new)

Talia Crockett  | 52 comments Thanks Carla, that's very true! Are there any tips or approaches you'd be willing to share in regards to creating the perfect ending for a short story? (Obviously don't expect you to reveal your top secrets!)


message 6: by DigiWriting (new)

DigiWriting | 523 comments Mod
Hello Carla,

We're very excited to have you as our featured author!

When you are compiling your anthologies, how do you determine the order of your short stories? Do you, as the saying goes, "always save the best for last?"

Thanks!


Iesha (In east shade house at...) (emberblue) | 410 comments Hello Carla,

I noticed that you write about art in your stories. Has art always been a big influence for you? Also how much do art influence you?(I feel like I asked the same question...) Are you an artist? If so, what does your work consist of? I have some skills in drawing, but I only do animals in pencil drawing. ^.^


message 8: by Monica (new)

Monica LaSalle (MonicaReadsAlot) | 173 comments Carla, I enjoyed "Crazy Lovebirds" and wondered when you made the switch from short stories to flash fiction or is this just something you're trying out?


message 9: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments DigiWriting wrote: "Hello Carla,

We're very excited to have you as our featured author!

When you are compiling your anthologies, how do you determine the order of your short stories? Do you, as the saying goes, "a..."


Actually, no. Because of the way Kindle sampling works, I try to make the first story the most "enticing." (Readers do have the option of reading and rejecting.) And I try to make the last, the mos t thought-provoking. Not sure whether that's clear.


message 10: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Monica wrote: "Carla, I enjoyed "Crazy Lovebirds" and wondered when you made the switch from short stories to flash fiction or is this just something you're trying out?"

Oh, I adore flash fiction! I always write some of it, especially when I am being kooky or funny, which is part of who I am. I find if I need to cheer myself up, what better than to write funny flash fiction? It's an instant pick-me-up. I especially like the flash that I wrote for the blog, Lost in Fiction, which I called "The Rabbi's Lesson."


message 11: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Iesha (In east shade house at...) wrote: "Hello Carla,

I noticed that you write about art in your stories. Has art always been a big influence for you? Also how much do art influence you?(I feel like I asked the same question...) Are you..."


In my dream life, I am a painter....I often have dreams about beautiful paintings, in particular beautiful landscape paintings. From the time I was a girl, I loved looking at paintings, more than at nature. Hard to say why that is. And also the themes around art -- of capturing the past -- interest me. So it's an ongoing obsession...in fact, my new novel is about art, too.


message 12: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Talia wrote: "Thanks Carla, that's very true! Are there any tips or approaches you'd be willing to share in regards to creating the perfect ending for a short story? (Obviously don't expect you to reveal your to..."

I think it's a matter of digging deep emotionally -- even if it's humor.

You need to think, why did I write this particular story and not another? What is it REALLY about? Because once you "feel" that, you get to the ending-- and then it's a matter of crafting the perfect line. But the craft follows the emotion, in my view, even though the crafting might take another day or even longer. Sometimes, I have to put a story aside, and read it again, thinking, now why did I write this?

With humor, of course, you also have to consider timing....and that's a different thing. The last line has to be quick. It can't lag behind the reader.


message 13: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Jones (AmandaSJones) | 380 comments Hi Carla, I have a question I often ask fellow writers: Do you have a specific writing process or do you plan your writing time? ie. do you fit your writing into the rest of your life or does your life revolve around your writing?


message 14: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Amanda wrote: "Hi Carla, I have a question I often ask fellow writers: Do you have a specific writing process or do you plan your writing time? ie. do you fit your writing into the rest of your life or does your ..."

Well, when I first start writing (after my mother died, about six years ago,) I was very busy with my career(and I ran my own company, so that means very busy.) So I woke up early and stayed up late to get the writing done...and a lot of work got done.

I think when you're inspired, you find the time... your days get longer. So, I don't have a "process" but I do find the time because I am not a fast writer, and never will be. And I love the writing... really, it's a joy to write. It makes the rest of the day worthwhile.


message 15: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Jones (AmandaSJones) | 380 comments I find that too, Carla. The writing just calls to you and you pulls you away from other things!

So did you start writing as catharsis given it was after the death of a loved one?


message 16: by J. (new)

J. Hammond (jchammond) | 2 comments Hi, Carla. I loved Crazy Love but it made me wonder: why do you prefer anthologies of short fiction over just one longer book? (I know why I do, but that may or may not be why you do.) Also, which do you prefer to read? Thanks!


message 17: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Amanda wrote: "I find that too, Carla. The writing just calls to you and you pulls you away from other things!

So did you start writing as catharsis given it was after the death of a loved one?"


Catharsis...that's a tough one, and I've never figured what it REALLY means because we're never done with people, ever. The year after my mom died, my dear NYC friend, Ruth, told me that she was dying-- it was a complete shock. As she was dying, I wanted to distract her, entertain her...so I read her stories over the telephone. So, even though I was feeling dark, the stories had laughs in them. Anyway, I'm still trying to figure why the heck I write!


message 18: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments J. wrote: "Hi, Carla. I loved Crazy Love but it made me wonder: why do you prefer anthologies of short fiction over just one longer book? (I know why I do, but that may or may not be why you do.) Also, which..."

Thanks for reading Crazy Lovebirds -- I have a new short sampler coming soon, Spooky & Kooky. To me, it's the freedom of this new digital environment to have these "mini" books. I love short stories, so it seems fun to make little books from them (if I can find a unifying theme as in THE ART COLLECTION.) I think "ebooks" are perfect for shorts, and rather less perfect for novels. I do not enjoy reading long books in digital format.

I have written a novel, but haven't gotten around to publishing it (or rather, haven't decided whether to go the small publisher route.) But the novel grew out of short funny stories that I'd published -- in particular, Career Girl (in ERIC's HYSTERICS) and Skinny Girl (in RED FEZ.)


message 19: by J. (new)

J. Hammond (jchammond) | 2 comments Spooky and Kooky sounds fun, can't wait to read it! When will it be coming out?

I enjoy shorts though I find them challenging to write and haven't figured out pricing yet. As a reader I think there is an "optimal size" for physical books. Anything over 750 pages is just too heavy if you're a "mobile" reader and I hate having to leave a book behind because it won't fit in my bag. Fortunately, with ebooks I can fit almost an entire library in my bag and have relatively easy access to many many more.


message 20: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Should have SPOOKY & KOOKY out in two weeks or so-- It is a mix of scsry, slipstream and just some kooky little tsles,..my favorite involves a cat, of course. Actually, there are two cat stories!


message 21: by Piper (new)

Piper Templeton (pipertempleton) | 69 comments Hi Carla,

Thanks for making "The Art Collection" free to us with your Smashwords coupon. I enjoyed the stories -- I was immediately drawn in. I hope you don't mind more of a "business" question. This was my first experience with Smashwords, even as a reader. Do you have a preference as a writer for either Smashwords or Kindle? Can you give a comparison of your experience using both?

Thanks!
Piper


message 22: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Piper wrote: "Hi Carla,

Thanks for making "The Art Collection" free to us with your Smashwords coupon. I enjoyed the stories -- I was immediately drawn in. I hope you don't mind more of a "business" question...."


Oh so glad you were able to figure out the coupon and read THE ART COLLECTION (and of course, pleased that you enjoyed them.)

I'm not a business/publishing guru, to put it mildly. I like the idea of being able to give coupons, and you can't do that on Amazon-- and some readers do not have Kindles (and complain that the Kindle Cloud reader for PC doesn't work.) For short stories, I think it's good to have wider distribution (Smashwords distributes to Apple, etc) because it's such a tiny market. Hope that is helpful!


message 23: by DigiWriting (new)

DigiWriting | 523 comments Mod
Hi Carla,

We were wondering: when writing your short stories, do you find yourself writing to a specific word count, or does the story itself dictate the length? We imagine length is more of an issue with short fiction than with novels.


message 24: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments DigiWriting wrote: "Hi Carla,

We were wondering: when writing your short stories, do you find yourself writing to a specific word count, or does the story itself dictate the length? We imagine length is more of an i..."


GREAT question. I call this the Tyranny of Word Count.

If you're serious about "getting published" in literary journals, there are really only 3 lengths that are "safe": flash (1000 or under), 2000 words or 3000 words. Over that, you have few choices. So, if I'm writing something that I think is in the literary fiction camp, I edit down. (Also, it's worth noting here, for people seeking publication: flash is the easiest length to get published.)

One of the reasons for NOT publishing in magazines is to escape these rules. I've been working on a dark story that's over 4000 words. It's tight (and I am a terse writer by nature); and I can't make it shorter (and it might get longer.) So, I'll probably include in a story collection, but not publish it in a magazine.


message 25: by DigiWriting (new)

DigiWriting | 523 comments Mod
Hi Carla,

We imagine that can be a difficult decision; to aim for literary journal or magazine publication, or to publish in your own story collection. What other factors influence this decision?


message 26: by Talia (new)

Talia Crockett  | 52 comments Hello again Carla,

I have one more question for you. What sorts of works are you reading right now? As an author of short fiction, is it your favourite mode to read, as well?


message 27: by Blue Moon (new)

Blue Moon Publishers (bluemoonpublishers) | 146 comments Mod
A question we often ponder: How do you select the title for your books? Do they grow from your writing or do you have the title in mind before you start to write?


message 28: by Adam (new)

Adam Mawer | 66 comments Hi Carla,

Where do you find your inspiration for your work? Do you borrow from real life or do you let your imagination soar?


message 29: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Dupont | 6 comments Hi Carla!
Where is your favourite place to Write? Do you find your external surroundings influence your writing? State of mind?


message 30: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments DigiWriting wrote: "Hi Carla,

We imagine that can be a difficult decision; to aim for literary journal or magazine publication, or to publish in your own story collection. What other factors influence this decision?"


Another great question. I think if your story has a happy ending, it's not a perfect fit for most literary magazines who tend to prefer the ambiguous or gloomy ending. Also, if your story is "naturalistic," that's tough as well. I like stories in which characters are redeemed, and sometimes that conflicts with today's climate. So, it's highly individual.


message 31: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Talia wrote: "Hello again Carla,

I have one more question for you. What sorts of works are you reading right now? As an author of short fiction, is it your favourite mode to read, as well?"


I am a bookworm. I adore history, and have been enjoying the Rivers of America Series this year, and have a pile of WW1 books to get through-- I get lots of ideas from reading history. I always have poetry near me -- Larkin, Horace, Frost, Homer. Of course, I read tons of short fiction -- New Yorker podcasts, One Story, various journals, as well as trusted re-reads like Kipling, Maugham, Hardy, etc. I just finished reading Peter Cameron's novel, Coral Glynn, and loved it. And yes, I love reading cookbooks. :)


message 32: by Carla (last edited Nov 12, 2014 10:20AM) (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Katherine wrote: "Hi Carla!
Where is your favourite place to Write? Do you find your external surroundings influence your writing? State of mind?"


I write in my home office, using a standing desk. It looks out on my very green, lovely yard (deer, foxes, you name it.) I can't write in public places like cafes or whatever-- something about having other people around upsets my thought processes. Music or noise bothers me-- I don't have a brain that can handle different experiences at the same time. I need to be "in" the story, talking to my brain.


message 33: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Adam wrote: "Hi Carla,

Where do you find your inspiration for your work? Do you borrow from real life or do you let your imagination soar?"


Hmm, that is hard to say. I think we all borrow from real life emotionally, and in terms of imagery. You're the only one who had your dreams and your nightmares. They belong to you, whatever else happens.

Some of my stories are closer to my own experiences than others, for sure. But sometimes, the closeness is "cloaked." For example, one of my most personal stories, on the face of it, is a scary cat story, which I called "Chopin for Igor." On the other hand, my humor is truly invented, whether it's first person or not. Funny things, as a rule, don't happen to me.


message 34: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Blue Moon wrote: "A question we often ponder: How do you select the title for your books? Do they grow from your writing or do you have the title in mind before you start to write?"

I think there should be a Computer Program that selects titles! Or maybe just a dartboard! It's such a gamble: titles matter so much to online purchasing and most of the time, matter not at all to authors. The default is to use a title from one of the stories, but that's not always the best route.

But even with individual short stories, I think finding the title is tough-- unless you want a "hard-working" title, i.e., a title that shapes the story or is an ironic comment on it. Obviously, if it's a story about a funeral, and you title it, The Happiest Day, it's a different story.


message 35: by Blue Moon (new)

Blue Moon Publishers (bluemoonpublishers) | 146 comments Mod
I'm sure there's an app for that ;)

Seriously though, titles are SO important! You seem to have done well with yours so keep on with that!

Speaking of titles, if someone were new to your writing, which book would you start them off with and why?


message 36: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Dupont | 6 comments Was there a particular moment that led to you writing? Was writing always your dream, or did it jus sort of happen?


message 37: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Blue Moon wrote: "I'm sure there's an app for that ;)

Seriously though, titles are SO important! You seem to have done well with yours so keep on with that!

Speaking of titles, if someone were new to your writing,..."


Well, Strange Courtships has the greatest variety of stories in it, so I think it's the best intro in that sense-- a bit of spooky, a bit of humor, a bit of the surreal. But my favorite story is in The Art Collection-- it's just a personal favorite. I've yet to publish (in a book, that is) my "best" stories from magazines...but it's on the agenda.


message 38: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Katherine wrote: "Was there a particular moment that led to you writing? Was writing always your dream, or did it jus sort of happen?"

Oh my goodness, no! As a girl, I wanted to be an actress, maybe doing Shakespeare. And there were other dreams, too, but not writing fiction.

After my mom's death, a woman (not really a friend) bought me a journal. She said that I should try and record my "memories" and I tried but I could not express what I wanted to say...except as fiction. And when I did that, I thought...hmm, there's a part of me I don't know.


message 39: by Carla (new)

Carla (cjsarett) | 51 comments Thanks for this invitation, and to everyone who asked such great questions. Was a delight answering them!

For the writers among us: Over the holidays, I invite authors to submit Holiday Reading Lists on a topic of their choice (e.g., cats, baseball, Arizona, travel, food, etc) -- and I link to their blog or Amazon page, It is my way of supporting book-buying over the holidays.

If anyone here wants to submit, please PM me for details. Again, thanks!


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