2020 Releases

The Rock Star's Familiar
The Vampire's Familiar
The Witch's Familiar
Phantasia: Bad Day On Olympus
Ice Cave
Destiny, Desire & Murder
Close to the Truth

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Magic Thursday - The Long & The Short of It with Eleni Konstantine

I started off on this rocky road to publication writing short stories. At the time I was at university (I had written a few earlier in my life but it was in uni, I decided I wanted to write and be published!), so I was used to the word count of a short story.

What is the short story word length?

Flash = < 1000 words
Short Story = 1000 to 7,500 words
Novelette = 7,500 to -15,000 words
Novella =15,000 to 40,000 words
Novel = > 40,000 words

from: Duotrope - database of markets

After uni, I started to do a comprehensive writing course via correspondence. It took me four long years while working full time. During this, I had to send in twenty submissions as well as complete twenty assignments.  Since I was interested in fiction, all the submissions (bar one) were short stories. I didn’t do too badly- out of the nineteen short stories, five were published and one came second in a short story competition. Don’t forget this is when I was raw to writing and submitting, so it wasn't a too bad result. Most of the stories (ie assignments) were written for specific topics – characterisation, dialogue, themes – so it wasn’t freestyle, where I could write any old story the way I wanted to. 

After my course, I shelved writing short fiction while I concentrated on a novel but a couple of years ago, I decided to try my hand at flash fiction for a particular market. The task: 500 words. The outcome:  rejection. But two of the stories have since been accepted by Antipodean SFThe Bucket (November 2010) and Dragon Quest (to be published in June 2011 issue). So it has been worth it. And a great feeling to have my work ‘out there!’.

I loved returning to the short form. Yes, they are quicker to write but not a walk in the park. Every single word has to be succinct. Every word has to move the story along, keeping the pace going. You don’t have time to describe in detail, or have characters talk for pages on end about their situation, like I have in my novel.

No, it’s get in, get out! Like a crack SWAT team.

There is also the scope to experiment with short stories, seeing if you like writing in a particular genre or style. That is handy when you are not sure what direction you want to go in. It also has the benefit of a quicker turn around time to novel writing.

So now I have the bug again for writing short fiction, and of course I have pulled out some of those old short stories. Three have been reworked and submitted, while others may become longer pieces. I have yet to decide J. And while the competition is fierce, I am enjoying writing/rewriting, submitting and having my work out there while I work on my longer pieces.

I see it as win-win.

As well as Dutrope (as mentioned above), for speculative fiction markets there is Ralan's listings

So to celebrate the short story form, I have two anthologies to give away.
~ Apartia II ~ published by the Association of Greek-Australian Writers and Artists Australia. It’s 2/3 in Greek and a 1/3 in English (where my stories Detour! and  Never Too Late are located).
~ Little Gems 2010: Topaz Short Story Anthology ~published by the Romance Writers of Australia. Includes the cover designed by moi, and short stories by our members Fiona Gregory, Shona Husk and Maggie Mundy.  

Just comment below for your chance to win either of the two (open internationally). Winners will be announced on Wednesday 6th April.


  1. You're right Eleni,
    short story writing is much more compacted, and no less hard to write than a long story - just quicker (g)
    Congrats on your sales, well deserved! =)

  2. Ah, the short story. It's much much harder than it appears! Your crack swat team analogy? Right on!

    I don't know how you managed to write specific assignments & submissions for your course, Eleni. I suck at writing assignments based around specific topics -- which is why I didn't do any of the set work at a RomAus conference workshop I attended *smacks hand*. I would have been hiding under the duvet and whimpering at the prospect of writing 20 of the darn things like you did for your course. I'm soooo envious of your flexibility and the talent it takes to do that.

    Good luck with your submissions! I hope they all find a much-deserved home. BTW, I loved The Bucket!

  3. Thanks Mel! I'm so glad to have had my apprenticeship with short story writing. It really was an eye opener - and yes, still hard.

    Maree - glad you like the SWAT team analogy. Yes the course was interesting - not only did I do short stories, but articles, plotting a novel, a radio play, a theatre piece - all very interesting. It really did help me focus on the direction I wanted to go and that really hasn't changed years later now that I think on it - fantasy with romance elements. :)

    And I'm so glad you loved The Bucket. I had such fun writing that one! :)

  4. Hi Eleni,

    I like to get anthologies to read, especially to try new authors whose work I may end up following at a later date. I think that for authors who write a lot a short story can be a great introduction into their work or about their characters that may not fit into a full story.

    I used to love the challenge in high school of writing to a specific topic for assignments although writing on the run in exams wasn't as fun if the stimulus wasn't great.

  5. HI Skye, thanks for dropping by. Yes, bite sized pieces with characters from a series is also great especially when you are between books :)

    Oh exams could be horrid if they asked the wrong question. Eeek some of mine were stinkers. Though I was lucky enough to write about Jane Eyre in my first year university exam as I purposefully left it out of assignments (you couldn't do an assignment AND exam on the same work of fiction). I think that question saved my grade!!

  6. Ive always loved the cover of Little Gems 2010 - so pretty, you're a talented lady!

  7. Thanks Nicola!! I'm glad you love the cover.