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Secret Lives is about 150,000 words long. That’s a trade paperback of more than 600 pages. Of course, I'm not alone in writing long fiction. Take a look at The Mists of Avalon or the fantastic novels of Sheri S. Tepper or Edward Rutherfurd. Length is often necessary. Sometimes good. It’s comparatively easy to write long form literature, either nonfiction or a novel. You just put down everything that comes into your mind and edit and rewrite until you’re satisfied. This is what I spend my days doing for authors who hire me to help them.
Writing short form is something else again. As my major professor in graduate school once remarked, "Prolixity is not always a virtue." He advised me to write more concisely. That was a hard lesson to learn because concision requires discipline. With a word limit, you just can’t put down every little thought that drifts through your mind. Here are two of my shorter pieces.
“ Real Family Values” is a prize-winning article I wrote about my brother’s disappearance and reappearance many years ago. People who read it tell me that it brings tears to their eyes. I think that's a nice tribute to my brother.
“ Popeye as Deity” is a parody of literary scholarship with a touch of Qabalah. I love to write parodies and just plain weird stuff. This is an early example. Lit crit is sooooo easy to parody. It's an unmoving target.
I post a new story every month to Womens Radio. These are mostly revisionist fairy tales, and I'm pleased to report that they get a lot of hits. I hope you'll soon be some of those hits. The stories are fun to write, and Liz Hazel's illustrations are terrific. .