Lisa Burton Drops by to Tell Us About C.S. Boyack’s Short Stories and How Writing Them Differs From Novels

Today I have a dear friend, Craig, who goes by C.S. Boyack as his author name. Craig has a spokemodel for his books, Lisa Burton, and I have invited her here to tell us a bit about the difference between short stories and novels. I personally find reading the two types of work very different. C.S. Boyack has a new book of short stories out and his creative energy is flowing through its pages.

Thanks for inviting me, Sue. I enjoy getting out of the writing cabin every once in a while. You wanted to know about the difference between short stories and novels. Craig had to think about this one for a while, but here’s what he told me.

With a novel, you have more time to build worlds, add in small bits of backstory, and go on a hero’s journey. Short stories don’t have that luxury. You have to know what the point is, and get to it in a hurry. A novel might have a chapter of denouement, but short stories usually end before then.

Craig said most short stories involve an epiphany. There is character growth, but it’s usually more shocking and direct than in a novel. Maybe the character learns she’s been wrong about everything. Back her up and walk her into that moment of understanding. It’s that lightbulb moment that makes for a good short story. The cavalry isn’t coming, I’ve created a monster, aliens are real, that kind of thing.

There is a lot of room within those parameters. In Craig’s new book, characters grow, some die, some make lifestyle changes. Twist endings are popular in short stories, and Craig uses them too sometimes.

In novels, they talk about rising tension. This works in short stories, but it has to be faster. Sometimes the tension is already there, and the author dials the heat up from that point.

Craig started out as a novelist, and he always has one of those going on. He has lots of ideas, but they won’t all carry a novel for eighty-thousand words. He used to toss index cards over his shoulder as he discarded ideas looking for the right one. Guess who had to clean them all up.

Today, he saves those ideas. Maybe they won’t carry a novel, but many of them make for a nice short story. Craig writes his short fiction when he’s pressed for time, or when the novel burns him out. He’s doubled his productivity that way, and I have a hunch the method is here to stay.

The book is called The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. It’s the second collection he’s put out. This one contains some paranormal, some science fiction, and one that might pass for fantasy. Any of them can be read during a lunch break, and some can even fit into a coffee break.


The book is priced at 99¢ and is available on Amazon right now.

Personally, I’m glad to see a little more science fiction in this collection. As a robot, those are my roots, and where I’m most comfortable. Remember, I help Craig with dialog and positioning. I enjoyed dressing up as an Amazon Queen, or as a colonial era witch, but getting back to science fiction felt great.

That brings me to your poster. This is reflective of a story in the collection called Last Flight of the Rocket Men. It’s me getting ready to take the rocket-pack up for a flight. It made Craig nervous, but I took several orbits that day and had a blast.


Your readers are welcome to use the poster as backgrounds on PCs, laptops, phones, or whatever.

Don’t forget about Lisa Burton Radio when Naked Alliances publishes. I’d love to get Richard or Brandi on the show.

Now, what kind of cool shopping do you have in Florida? I need a swimsuit, and you never know what else I might find.

Oh wow! And purple is my favorite color…I have it in my hair. Swimsuits are always available, Lisa, and definitely flip-flops. I know your shoes are often exotic, but everybody needs a pair of flip-flops to slip into when you just don’t feel like dressing up. They are  a staple around here and there are many stylish ones for sale that are cushiony soft and highly decorated.

So glad you could drop by and introduce my readers to Craig’s newest book. I loved Wild Concept and am in the middle of The Second Experimental Notebook. The story Magpies really caught my attention and made me think about what might go through my own head during such a moment in time.

I can’t wait to introduce you to my P.I.’s sidekick, Brandi. I think you’ll make good friends. She’s kind of new to women’s fashion. Perhaps you can give her some pointers.

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38 thoughts on “Lisa Burton Drops by to Tell Us About C.S. Boyack’s Short Stories and How Writing Them Differs From Novels

  1. I think Craig’s very lucky to have you Lisa! 😀 I really like Craig’s writing process – it’s really flexible, not to mention spontaneous, which are 2 of my favourite things. Regrettably organisation is not my forte – even when it coming to managing chaos, but I can admire those who can do it! 😉

  2. Very insightful Craig, about the difference between short stories and novels. I often go through the same experience of dull time in writing novels. I have your book already on my Kindle. Many book to read! 😀

  3. It’s interesting that I read this today while I am in the middle of a book of short stories. I’ve been trying to read the past winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a few of which over the past thirty years have been short story collections. I love the novel. I’ve written a few, and I love reading them. Stephen King once made the comparison that a novel is a long love affair while a short story was just a little kiss. But my Pulitzer reading has brought me to Robert Olen Butler’s “A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain”. I figured I would read it just to cross it off my list, but the stories, all of which are about refugees of the Vietnam War, are resonating with me. Maybe it’s my background. I lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas until just a few weeks shy of my eleventh birthday, and I remember my mother taking me to the airport to see some of those Vietnamese refugees, who were going to be housed at the nearby Fort Chaffee installation, land and disembark. Of course, being the child that I was, I had no concept of what those people had endured and lost. This book, with its short pictures of different characters, really brings it home. I’ll have to give more short story collections a chance…

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