Claudia M.is creating quality short stories with exciting plots
PLUS, you will get to suggest themes and characters for my future stories (but not the plot or the ending – these are my domain!).
Once I get 20 patrons in this tier, I will start posting a monthly essay with my analysis of your suggestions. If I accept your idea, you will see your characters come to life in one of my future stories.
You will get all the previous rewards: one original short story every month, as well as an essay analysing your suggestions for future themes and characters.
PLUS, you will get access to my expertise as a literary critic. Once I get 30 patrons in this tier, I will start posting a monthly cultural essay with my views on books and films: recent, as well as classic.
About Claudia M.
READ WOMAN OF THE YEAR, THE FIRST SHORT STORY I CREATED FOR PATREON, IN MY INAUGURAL POST. IT'S FREE!
Who am I?
I am a literary critic, and I spend my days reading great books. Like Professor Higgins in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, I've turned a hobby into a job, and I earn a living from the exercise of my passion. I am insanely lucky.
I started writing fiction two years ago, when I published a short story in a UK magazine. Since then, I published eight more stories.
Claudia M. is a pseudonym. I decided not to use my real name, because, on Patreon, I want to go further than I ever had before and fully reveal myself. My stories are not autobiographical – my life is not that interesting – but my emotions, and my life experience, will lie bare on the page. And because of that, I am using an alias. For now.
My promise to you
I hope to gain your patronage with the quality of my writing. I will regard your pledges as a salary, or an advance on a book, and will never dream of producing anything less than my best work.
In the fine tradition of many writers – real, as well as fictional – I will dedicate my most productive time, the first three hours in the morning, to writing short stories for Patreon. I will endeavour to create at least one original story (3,000 - 7,000 words) every month.
I am offering a three-tier patronage. I am only just starting on Patreon, so these tiers are an experiment. If you want me to do something different – or something more – I would be thrilled to receive your suggestions.
What I write about
I write about middle-class life, and I have a bleak view of it.
I write about the fickleness of human relationships, and the fact that most of us will sell the other out when our own survival is threatened. Some will hold out for longer than others - but still break at some point. What interests me is what this point is.
I write about love, and how we might never experience it. Not because we won't “meet the right one”, but because love, real love, is rare, and few have the capacity - or talent - for it. So instead of love, we settle for “supportive relationships.” That's the best-case scenario. More typically, we stick around someone because of neurotic attachment, fear of loneliness, or the wish to “settle down”.
I write about day-to-day tedium: how the need to earn a living crushes us and makes us anonymous bots in the economic machine, and how, after 20 years in the office, we forget that we had once had proper dreams.
I write about private obsessions, how destructive they are, and how they seethe in the people that we least expect.
I write about talent, because the nature of talent, real talent – not intelligence, good education and hard work– fascinates me.
If these subjects interest you as well, become my Patron, and let's explore them together.
Weighty subjects, entertaining style
There was a time when a short story had everything a novel did. It explored fundamental questions of the human condition, of course. But it also had vivid characters, surprising developments, suspense. In fact, a short story was better than a novel: you read it in one sitting, and, like everything which is short and intense, it stayed in your memory, as a bright flash, for a very long time.
Growing up, I read short stories for the thrill of finding out what happened in the end. Edgar Allan Poe, Eudora Welty, Philip Roth, Thomas Mann, Shirley Jackson, Nadine Gordimer - I couldn’t put their stories down. And if I accidentally flicked the book to the last page, I quickly looked away or shut my eyes, horrified to spoil the suspense.
There is no danger of spoilers these days, as most modern short stories end exactly where they had begun. Sometimes there is a development in the middle, a whiff of excitement - but it soon withers, and obscurity prevails.
A short story is meant to “convey a mood”, modernist acolytes might argue. What can I possibly respond to that? Except that, when you read 20 pages and nothing happens, it's not a mood - it's drudgery. I would also add that you can convey the most subtle of moods, the most complex of emotions, depict every nuance of the human condition, address fundamental subjects, inform, educate, enlighten – and be entertaining at the same time.
But to achieve that, you need to revive that stalwart of a classic short story: the plot. And this is what I am trying to do.