Sep 29, 2010

Short Story, Big Impact

Anna Hackett is a member of the LoveCats and is a popular Nocturne Bites author, with a number of ‘bites’ stories (shorter length paranormal) published through Harlequin. She has previously taught an online course, “Short Story Big Impact” and is teaching this fabulous online course again in October!

Anna, I’ve had a squiz at your online course, and it looks fantastic!

Thanks, Mel! I love sharing the tips and techniques I've learned as a reader and writer of short stories. If I can help some other writers avoid some of the mistakes I've made, then it's worth it.

What are your key goals with this course?

There is plenty packed into Short Story, Big Impact. Here are the objectives of the course:

Learn how to structure short stories

Learn the key elements to writing short stories

Discover tips and techniques to include (and what to limit) in your short stories

See examples of winning short story techniques from successful authors

Learn how short stories can help craft full length stories

What seems to be the biggest mistake writer’s make when attempting a short story?

Packing too much into the story — too many characters, too many sub-plots, too many explanations, too many words. If a novel is a cake, the short story is a slice of it. You need to focus in on a single incident, single relationship or single moment. There's no room for lots of plot, shorts tend to be character-driven stories and focused on a particular intense moment or incident.

As an author of multiple 'bites' stories, what do you think makes short stories, and in particular, paranormal short stories so popular?

Excellent question, Mel! I think readers pick up short stories because they're the perfect length to fit into a busy lifestyle. In between work and family, many people don’t have the time or energy to immerse themselves in the complex worlds of longer stories. Instead, they want a quick fix.

Short stories are about INTENSITY. A lot happens in a very short time and we get to the good stuff straight away. When I pick up a short story I want: a quick read, not too complicated and a quick hit of emotion (whether it's love, shock, horror or excitement). I think paranormal stories in particular deliver this with a bang -- life and death situations, danger, action — the paranormal aspect amps up the intensity of an already intense short story.

Anna, thanks for the chat! Last but not least, what is next for you?

In October I'll be busy teaching Short Story, Big Impact at the RWA Online Chapter. I'll also be teaching it again online in February at the Colorado Romance Writers.

On the writing front, I have a new Bites coming soon (no set date yet) called One Night with the Wolf — it features a duty-bound female alpha who wants one night of passion with a wolf in his prime...and she knows just the wolf she wants.

Thanks for chatting with me, Mel!

For more information on Anna’s course, go to:


  1. Anna, you get the *best* covers! Every time I play mahjong (ie., when procrastinating) and I get to the South Wind tile, I think of Taken By The South Wind. =)

  2. What a great opportunity for aspiring writers - or even published ones wanting to hone their skills!
    Short story writing really is an art and something that has to be nurtured.
    Good luck Anna with the course, and hope you have loads of fun too =)

  3. Hi Rachel --
    I've loved all my covers so far. I just filled out the AFS for my latest -- fingers crossed it's another winner (-:

  4. Thanks, Mel --
    I'm hoping the course goes well. Last time I taught it we had a blast. Thanks again for interviewing me!

  5. Great interview guys. Your course sounds facinating Anna. Good luck with the teaching :)

  6. Having read a couple of your Bites Anna, I can say that indeed there is a big impact with this shorter form. Hmmm... I may just have to look at the February slot. :)

  7. Your course sounds great, Anna -- and I LOVE the sound of your new Bites! A wolf in his prime ... I want to meet him!

  8. Hi Tracie --
    Thanks for the luck. Hoping I have some eager students.

  9. Hi Eleni --
    Thanks! Glad you think my Bites have impact (-: Defintely check out the Feb course -- I love having some familiar "faces" in my classes.

  10. Hi Emily --
    I had a ball writing my wolf Bites. It was one of those stories where the characters leapt out fully formed and the story wrote itself. It's my first foray into the world of wolves!

  11. Ooh, a wolf in his drooling here, Anna.

    Your course sounds great! Hope you have lots of fun with it :-)

  12. Hi Anna, Hi Mel!

    Having had a look at Anna's course, I can tell you--it totally rocks! Her grasp on the craft, in short and long forms, is quite exceptional. Her delivery of that information is simple yet succinct, knowledgable yet digestible. Also, she sticks with you every step of the way - so approachable. I've learned so much from her as a CP, I can't thank her enough. Mwah, Anna!

    I'm sure I've also mentioned that sexy chase-through-the-woods scene in ONE NIGHT WITH THE WOLF. Phew. I'm not a huge wolf fan, but oh yeah, Anna's hero goes a LONG way to converting me.

  13. I've been doing Anna's short story course and I highly recommend it to anyone next time she teaches it. The feedback and knowledge has been amazing!