Spotlight, Author Beem Weeks

BEEM WEEKS PICWhat’s To Be Gained From Writing Short Stories?

 Why write short stories? The answer is really quite simple: Short stories offer instant gratification for both writer and reader. A short story can be written in a day or two. It can be read in a matter of minutes. I love the work and research that goes into writing novels, but the short story is probably my favorite form of writing.

I began writing short stories when I first learned to construct a proper sentence—which goes back to about age eight. I’ve written nearly a hundred pieces over the course of my life, though most of those have been lost to time.

Anything can inspire me: An experience, a memory, an overheard comment. Our world is awash in ideas and inspirations—if only we choose to look for them. Often, I’ll be doing some mundane chore, like mowing the lawn, when a glimpse of a scene will enter my thoughts. This is how the idea for Lost Boy came to me. Lost Boy tells the story of an old man bothered by the noise created by the little boy’s trampoline next door. The idea came to me while mowing the lawn. The children next door have a trampoline, which, at times, can be quite noisy. I added the twist at the end, which led the old man to miss that sound of the squeaking springs once they ceased. I won’t give away that ending, but I am happy to say it’s just fiction.

A short story can cover many years in the lives of the characters. It can also be a single scene, a moment caught in time. I contributed a piece entitled Sweetie Girl to an anthology called Rave Soup for the Writer’s Soul. This story is a mere scene in the life of a woman struggling to care for her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother. The shortest pieces can sometimes say as much as any novel. Hemingway wrote a quick-fiction piece: (For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.) That simple line opens up all sorts of possibilities. I imagine a young couple that never got to dress their baby. These are words that convey devastating things.

I jot down ideas on Post-It notes that are stuck all over my desk. When time allows, I begin working on one of those ideas. Some stories are written in a single afternoon. Others germinate over a few days. With the internet, and web sites like Authors Den and Koobug, getting those short stories in front of readers is relatively easy in today’s world.

I enjoy writing about all sorts of subjects in my short pieces: Quirky characters, dark characters, real life situations, things lost and found, and the just-plain-made-up stuff. In Peepers Creepers, a shy girl wanders her neighborhood late at night, peeking in windows—not for any perverted reasons; this is just her way of getting to know people. In the story Rave On, a simple trip to a rave party reveals something very dark about one of the attendees. In Mr. Woodlick, an old man divulges a long-kept secret to the kid next door; a secret that could change the boy’s life. When Jesus Left Birmingham is based on real life events surrounding the early 1960s civil rights movement.

The idea for a published book of my short stories came from readers. Those suggestions planted the seed that grew into Slivers of Life, a collection of twenty pieces written over the past fifteen years. The title itself is a metaphor for each brief moment of life these stories represent.

Do I have personal favorites? Though these creations are indeed like my children, I do have those I prefer above others. Forget Me (Not Fade Away) is one I am really proud to have written. It deals with loss on many different levels: loss of a child, loss of dreams, loss of a marriage, loss of memories through Alzheimer’s, loss of faith. But at the end, the main character finds a little scrap of hope onto which to hold. Another favorite is A Life Lived (In Under 600 Words). It began as an exercise and became a short story of boy-meets-girl, boy-marries-girl, boy-loses-girl, all under 600 words.

I try to write about reality. However, from time to time, the otherworldly has crept into a few pieces: a girl vampire, a reincarnated boy, a thief from the sky that just cannot be explained. Fiction allows for these digressions into the unreal. With the short form of storytelling, there doesn’t have to be a standard beginning, middle and end. It can be a simple scene, a dialog between a mother and her daughter on why boys are no good. The key is to just have fun with it.

51mJUzQHKZL81LhAS-B61LYou can purchase Slivers of Life on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Follow Beem Weeks:

Twitter: @BeemWeeks




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35 responses to “Spotlight, Author Beem Weeks

  1. Cindy Harris

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by. I am so grateful that Beem replied to your comments as I was involved in a project at my 40 hour week job that I just couldn’t get away from.


  2. Another great blog post for your SPOTLIGHT author tour Beem. I love the idea of Post-It notes stuck all over your desk! Your new book sounds wonderful. Thank you for hosting Cindy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t seem to get the hang of short stories (yet). Then again, I try to focus on writing one thing at a time, so my series is getting all of my focus. One day I might get around to trying it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beem, you summed up writing short stories perfectly. Love the title. Wish I had thought of it for my own short story collection.:) I love writing short stories and have all my life but can’t seem to stretch one into a novel. I look forward to reading your collection..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on mallie1025 and commented:
    Wonderful essay on Sort sorry Writing

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like writing short stories also. It’s a nice break from writing novels. You’re truly inspiring, Beem. Thank you for hosting, Cynthia.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve found that short stories prove your worth as an author. All the fluff is discarded.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I agree with your thoughts about short stories Beem. I find them easier to write too, and I write a lot of them. Good luck as you continue your tour. Thank you Cynthia for hosting him.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thanks, Beem for your perspective on short stories. I love them also and write them to relax. Thank you,Cindy for hosting.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. beckyreilly2013

    I loved your Slivers of Life, Beem! Great writing and a variety of genres.
    Thanks for hosting, Cindy!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I love writing and reading the short form. I’m booked up with reading commitments right now, but I’ll probably pick this one up. (Just for myself.)

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Another awesome Spotlight post, Beem! Keep shining… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Beem, I’m such a fan of your work and it’s so nice to learn more about your writing process. So many of the stories in Slivers of Life have stayed with me long after I finished them; Lost Boy is certainly one of them.
    I also have Rave Soup for the Writer’s Soul on my Kindle, and I’m looking forward to reading the work of fellow RRBC members. Thanks for sharing with us. 🙂
    Thanks for the warm welcome, Cynthia!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Cynthia, thank you so very much for kindly offering your blog as a stop on this tour. I am grateful for your participation in making this so much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I never used to read short stories but over the last couple of years I have read some great collections and now appreciate them. They can offer such variety and quick enjoyment. Keep up the great writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Another great piece, Beem! 🙂 Short stories are one of my favourite forms too – yours really rock! 😀
    Thanks for having us all over Cindy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Gwen Plano

    I loved Slivers of Life! The breadth of the collection is amazing, but it is the depth of your stories, through character development and content, that won be over. It’s great visiting on the Tour! And, thank you for hosting, Cindy.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Thanks for this post, Beem. I’ve always avoided short stories because of they way I tell my stories. I wasn’t sure I had the ability to keep a story short. I take inspiration from your comments and I have food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve heard that from many a writer, Gordon. But a writer is a writer is a writer! Be it short form or novel or memoir or comic book. We’re telling a story. Can I tell this story in a few words? Or will this one take a little longer? Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi, Beem! I really like the sound of these stories. I’ve read several collections of shorts I’ve really enjoyed. I’ll have to add this one to my TBR!
    Hope you’re having a great tour. Thanks to Cindy for hosting!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I enjoy reading about your writing process, from Post-It notes to published work and ideas that come from your daily life experiences. You have a truly creative mind, Beem! Thanks for hosting, Cindy!

    Liked by 2 people