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Short Stories Can Lead to Bigger Creative Endeavors

By Steph's Scribe @stephverni
Short Stories Can Lead to Bigger Creative Endeavors

When I first began this humble writing journey of mine, I started by writing short stories. I'd sit in my high school classes and write stories instead of paying closer attention to my teachers (sorry, Mom and Dad, I probably could have brought home some better grades, especially in Geometry). Something happened to me when I wrote stories-it gave me such a sense of pleasure and accomplishment in ways that I didn't feel in other endeavors. Even if I just shared the stories with close friends, I enjoyed hearing what they had to say about the little fictions I was telling and to see if they enjoyed reading them.

All these years later, and after deciding to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction several years ago, I'm still at it. I haven't had commercial success with my books, just a little bit of local success, but that doesn't mean I haven't stopped trying. With five fiction books under my belt at this point and a new novel almost completed and ready to shop around to see if any agents bite, I love the whole process too much to let go of any it just yet.

Those short stories have often led me to write longer works. My first novel, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, grew out of a short story I wrote during a creative fiction class while I pursued my first master's degree in professional writing. I had taken the class as an elective-thank goodness. My late professor, Dr. George Friedman, returned the short story I had written, marked up and with a grade on it, but said these words to me that I never forgot: "I think you have a novel here." That short story, initially called Contelli's Mimosa, became Beneath the Mimosa Tree, my first work of fiction. After 20 years of working and raising kids, I finally got off my duff and wrote the novel as the thesis for my MFA and then turned it into a published work of fiction. Incidentally, I published the original short story, after making George's edits, in my collection of short stories and poetry entitled The Postcard and Other Short Stories & Poetry.

As well, another short story featured in the collection, called , became a full-fledged novel called . While I changed the setting from the Cotswolds in the U.K., I moved it more locally to St. Michaels, Maryland, and piggy-backed the story onto a previous novel I wrote called . When I heard readers asking me if there would be a sequel to , I decided to turn into less of a sequel, but more of a continuation, by bringing in new characters, but also by bringing back some of the characters from . It was simple: I couldn't get the characters in out of my head. They had to go somewhere, and so they safely landed in .

The point of me telling you these particular experiences is because you truly never know what will happen with your writing if you don't give it a try. Starting with short stories CAN lead to bigger things. Or, as many of the characters in my short stories can attest, they are happy just living on the pages of a shorter tale. Some, however, are clamoring to be more fully developed into a novel. Either way, the important thing is to tap into your creativity and let it tell you where it wants to go.

It will find its way.


Stephanie Verni is the author of five works of fiction: Beneath the Mimosa Tree, Baseball Girl, Inn Significant, Little Milestones, and a collection of short stories and poetry called The Postcard. She is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice. Visit her Amazon Author Page by clicking here.

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