Stories as Presents

The holidays are fast approaching, and it’s the time of year where you start to panic because you can’t seem to think of what your little brother might want, or what to get your friend who has everything (it turns out that not everyone like rum, no matter what the Landsquid thinks), or you wonder if it would be kissing-up if you make your boss brownies.

As a writer, you may think it’s a great idea to write stories for your presents.  In some cases, yes.  In others, no.  Let’s lay down some ground rules.

First of all, remember that it takes time to write a story.  Even a short story of a couple thousand words may take you at least a week to brainstorm, outline, write, edit, rewrite, and polish.  And then, depending on how you want to deliver it, you may need to format it, print it out, have it bound, etc.  Be realistic with the number you can get done.

Well, you may think, I’ll just write one story and give it to everyone.

Remember that your friends and families have different tastes.  For example, my mom loves scifi.  My sister is a romance kind of girl, and my dad reads historical fiction.  I’d be hard-pressed to write one story that appealed to all of them (although now I want to try…) and I bet the same is true of the people you know as well.

Additionally, if you write a story specifically for a person, then that person is touched.  You can tailor it to their tastes, perhaps use characters of yours that you know they like, and they’ll treasure it.  If you write a one-size fits all story and gift it to a number of people, it loses its charm.  It may even hint at laziness to its recipients, especially if they compare notes and find they all got the same thing.

Remember that some people don’t like to read (blasphemy, I know).  A story, personalized or no, is probably not going to be appreciated in that case.

That being said, a story can be a wonderful present.  If you have time and know someone will love it, go for it.

(Also, I make an exception if you’ve just had a book or short story published.  Give that baby away en masse.)

Speaking of wonderful presents, Turtleduck Press has recently released their first anthology, entitled Winter’s Night.  It’s full of wonderful winter and Christmas-themed stories and poems, and proceeds from the sales will go to UNICEF to hopefully make some poorer children’s holidays merry and bright.  Print copies are $4.99 and ebooks are only $.99.  It’ll make a good stocking stuffer for anyone who likes scifi/fantasy and it’s for a good cause.

3 responses to this post.

  1. I used to do that every Christmas, but life finally just got too busy. Of course, it was one story, bound into tiny book form, for friends and family. I shudder to think of them coming to light now – usually started in late November, rushed out in the mail mid-December. The typos alone must have been continent-shattering.

    I’m amazed by the patient tolerance the recipients exhibited upon receiving them. Goes to show just who your friends really are!

    And one day, I hope to do it again. Sigh.

    (Did you make your blog *snow*???)


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