In this Case, Fiction is Stranger than Truth


Usually whenever I do a reading from one of my nonfiction books, someone raises a hand during the q & a to ask, “Yes, but why don’t you write fiction?” or “Have you ever thought about writing fiction?”  My response is fiction is too hard for me to write.  Nonfiction is no piece of cake for me, but at least it begins with the truth as I know it which makes it grounded in something and somehow that is important for a Taurus. I like to have a starting point – it creates less anxiety for me in writing.

Fiction is like flailing around in emptiness and space where I am responsible for creating something out of nothing, and that makes me incredibly anxious before I even begin to sit down at the computer to write. So many hurdles for me to overcome in writing fiction.

The first problem I have is character names. I can’t think up good names for my characters and it’s not for lack of a reservoir to draw from. I collect names like I collect sayings – I have literally folders of names that I’ve saved through the years, but when it comes to putting them in a story, I can’t find the right ones. None of the names belong  with my plot, which is my second problem. What are these nameless characters going to do? And how can I possibly keep them doing it for more than a chapter?

The short story has been my salvation, although not a soul realized my redemption except  me. I have submitted a number of short stories for various literary contests, anthology collections, and magazines over the past ten years. One of them, Honky Tonk Cowboy, was published in the storyteller magazine in 2013  and another one, Dear Auntie O, recently appeared in a local magazine Fun after Fifty.net.  If I were a major league baseball player with this batting average, I wouldn’t be on a team roster anywhere.

With that record, why in the world would I take on a serialized fiction project? Good question. I believe the answer is timing. As Teresa reminded me today as we were driving through town after lunch, timing is everything. And so it is.

Channillo came along at a time when I was in the process of writing a novel or novella or a very long short story – I’m not sure which – a story I started before Brokeback Mountain was a major motion picture hit. It’s a story I take out periodically, dust it off and proclaim I can write fiction. The jury is out on that.

However, Channillo is a venue that offers serialized literature for a very nominal monthly fee much like Netflix does for the small screen, and  I decided to give my fiction one last ride. Chapter One of my story Cowgirls at the Roundup is available now on Channillo in the Historical Romance genre. Yikes! I must be fifty shades of red.

Click on the link in my blogroll to the right between Books I Buy and Don.

Saddle up.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is an essayist with humorist tendencies who periodically indulges her desires to write outside her genre by trying to write fiction and poetry. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press is publishing her collection of first-person accounts of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBT organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBT history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published four nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and a group of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike and Charly. Her Texas roots are never too far from her thoughts.
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18 Responses to In this Case, Fiction is Stranger than Truth

  1. boblamb says:

    Congratulations, girl. But I need help in finding your book. Went to the site. No luck. Please direct me. I’m eager to read your work.

    Like

    • Hi, Bob…Channillo is new to me, too – it’s like Netflix…you have to subscribe to it as a member before you can read the stories…check out Discover and Memberships on the site!
      Thanks so much – you’re always in my camp!! 🙂
      I miss our visits…

      Like

  2. Pingback: In this Case, Fiction is Stranger than Truth | Red's Rants and Raves

  3. Don says:

    Sheila you are a published writer. Now that’s an achievement to be proud of. good for you. I think it’s wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Don – writing has given the third act of my life an incredible joy! I saved the best for last maybe: Committed to Home – Chronicles of the Queer Movement from a Southern Perspective, 1984 – 2014. Unfortunately, I can’t get a publisher to commit to it. Keep your fingers crossed for me across the Pond.

      Like

      • I hope you will find a publisher. From what other authors say, it is a difficult, time consuming process. Would love for you to get a project like this out in the world!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have had almost 30 rejections so far in the last year and a half, but I have to believe someone will want to see it done at some point in time! Luckily, I was in sales for almost 40 years, so I have a pretty thick skin! 🙂

        Like

  4. Luanne @ TFK says:

    Congrats, Sheila. I’ve just started hearing about this site. I’ll be eager to hear how it goes!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I will check this out, Sheila. I mean, the title! The genre! How can I resist?

    Short story writing is an art as difficult as watercolor painting. So much said in a few crystalline strokes. I congratulate you on taking it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you will check it out – what in the world I am doing writing romance is beyond me, but I’d like to have a reader! That would force me to keep writing!! 🙂
      I love the comparison to watercolor painting! I will try to think of my short stories like that!
      Thanks so much for all of your comments!

      Like

      • Well, I bought a month subscription. I wasn’t too hard to figure out. Added your story to my channel. Now to get busy and read. Please, Missy Poppy Seed, behave for a few hours so I can enjoy reading again!!! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, Ann, you are my personal Best Friend!! Plus, you are so far my ONLY subscriber so I will rely on you as a beta reader for my fiction whenever Miss Poppy lets you read it!! Thanks so much!! 🙂

        Like

  6. Good lord!!! Thirty rejections!!! Bless you for continuing to try, thick skin or not. But you’re right. This is a fascinating topic, and important. Someone out there will want it. I have to think the time is right now, with gay marriage issues in the South. Anyway, I think it’s a hot topic.

    I am always your friend, and honored beyond all happiness to be a personal best!!! ❤ 😀 We "wolf" children need to stick together. 😀

    Much love and support.
    Ann

    P.S. There is an Italian American word, "scustamade" (scoo-STAH-mah-deh), that roughly translates as extremely naughty/mischievous/hardheaded all rolled into one. Poppy is the living embodiment of scustamade with Doctor Zeus close on her heels. The minute I start to read anything, she starts her antics with a wild eye and a doggy grin. She knows!! I'm hoping I can knock out your story before she catches on!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. reocochran says:

    I should be able to figure this out snd hope to read your fiction, chapter by chapter, Sheila. I like your titles, anything woth honky tonk or cowgirl on it. . . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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