Crime Bake: Short but Deadly: Writing Short Stories

Crime Bake—Short but Deadly: Writing Short Stories. Saturday, November 10, 2012

Left to right: Sheila Connolly, Toni L. P. Kelner, Moderator: Sharon Daynard, Roberta Isleb aka Lucy Burdette,  James M. Tabor. I’ve listed some of their works below.

The panel discussed short stories and why they write them. A story is considered a short story if it consist of anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 words. 15,000 words would be pushing the limits moving it over into the novella category.

All agreed that in a short story every single word counts. There are no wasted words here if you wish to tell a compelling story or mystery. Another thing to remember is there isn’t always enough time to create great characters so the events in the story become the main focus; and your ending needs to carry a lot of punch. It is also important when writing a short story that you dialog be crisp. It is your chance to show the character’s personality and flaws. A lot of writers create short stories from previously written novels. This allows them to present a well develop character that is already hated or loved in a story.

Examples of great short stories authors are Lillian Trevor (beautiful written stories), Ray Bradbury (gripping stories). Two titles to checkout are The Lottery by Richard Carver and The Cathedral (not sure of the author).

As with any genre, I suggest you not only research your subject manner, but also read in the genre you wish to write in. Reading short stories will allow you to see how it is done and who did it well.


An incomplete list of the above authors’ works: I recommend you search out all their works for an entertaining read.

Roberta Isleb aka Lucy Burdette: Key West Food Critic Mysteries: An Appetite for Murder, Death in Four Courses.

Sheila Connolly: Orchard Mystery Series, Museum Mystery Series, Buried in a Bog.

Toni L. Kelner: Family Skeleton Series, Co-edits bestselling fantasy anthologies with Charlene Harris. An Apple for the Creature.

James Tabor:  The Deep Zone, The Hallie Leland Series


Marian is the author of the Jake Carrington Series, If I Fail (Sept 2012), Burn in Hell (Jan 2013) and As the World Ends (novella, Dec 2012).


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  210. Much success for your future publications and congratulations.

  211. Everyone have a wonderful, happy and safe Thanksgiving!

  212. Hi, Marian! I write lots of romantic short stories and have so much fun doing so. Recently, a new friend told me she’d downloaded my story and was able to read it while waiting at the doctor’s office. She said it helped eased the tension she was waiting prior to her test. That made me feel so great. Good post. And Happy Thanksgiving.

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  214. Thanks, Marian.
    Some good reading for the holiday!
    I love short stories–have to say, crime is hard to to as a short story.
    Cheers, Kelly

  215. Love this subject on your blog! As a writer who just brushed up two of her crime short stories, this blog couldn’t be more relevant. Always good to refresh the old murderous mind!

    • Heather, thanks for stopping by. You know how to do it and could teach this lesson. Your stories are wonderful and heart pounding.
      Murder is a Family Business sounds wonderful. I cant’ wait to read it.

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