Tag Archives: Hite

Interview With Jeff Hite (Three Questions)

Jhite (This is part  “Three Questions With Xxxx”. If you’re interested in taking part click here and fill out the form.)

Jeff and I have been friends for years. He was part of the staff at Flying Island Press and his love of the short story form is nigh legendary.

1) You’ve written a lot of short fiction and have been an editor in the short fiction market. That makes you something of an expert in my book. What is it that you love so much about the format?

Short fiction gives you just a glimpse, just a taste of a world, but when it is done right, it gives you the whole story, in a format that you can easily digest in one sitting. I really enjoy that part of it. I think some of it comes from having a busy life, some of it comes from my short attention span, and some of it just comes from being able to get the whole story in one shot. Make no mistake I like really in depth stories, and really enjoy novel length stories but there is just something about the shorter stories that draw me to them.
Why do I write them? Well, I think that is simple, because of all the reasons above, and one more, they challenge me to fit an entire story into a small package. I have to cut all the fluff, and all the extra stuff, and just tell a story, and I like doing that.

2) It’s not a great paying market these days, though there are ways to sell them. Why do you think that is?

It really comes down to delivery method. The short answer is ebooks and podcasts. It is more complicated than that, but really it is the ability to publish a single short story and get it out there, that was really not available 10-15 years ago. Before the popularity of ebooks and podcasts, if you wanted to sell a short story you had to go to a magazine, Of which there were very few, and their slush piles must have been huge, because publishing and printing a short story yourself just didn’t make any sense economically. Now you can write a short story and publish it yourself in ebook format. To the end “user” there is no difference other than cost, between buying a short story or buying a novel length work. Now that these outlets exist, there is a market for them, and you can see that in the rise in the number of emagizines, that just didn’t exist 15 years ago, and short fiction podcasts such as the Escape Artist series, The DrabbleCast and even Cast of Wonders, they, while “free” to the consumer, are paying markets.

3) In moving from writing short fiction to longer form fiction what are the challenges you face?

I really like longer stories. I love the way that you can dive into someone else’s world and get completely lost. That is the great thing about novel length works. And short fiction is not just a shorten version of a novel length work. I think that idea has been the hardest one for me to over come. As I have said many times before, I am a, “by the seat of your pants” writer. I very often have no idea of what a story is actually going to be about when I start writing it. That presents a real problem when you start to write long works. You have to not only know where the story is going, but also be able to hold all of those ideas in your head while you are writing. See my above note about short attention span, and just repeat that here about 5 times. Most of my short fiction works are under 10,000 words. That length I can keep in my head without notes, longer than that I have to keep some sort of notes, and referring back to those notes while I am writing or editing, really kills my momentum. So learning to control a story, and plan it out have been my biggest challenges when working on longer works.

I am a little busy right now, please leave a message at the beep?


But I am really busy..


Still not buying it huh?

Ok then I guess…

Jeff Hite, A.K.A. The Dark Lord Hite, A.K.A. Dr. Evil-n-Carnate, A.K.A. Steve Wolencheck, current occupant of cubical 3257J, affectionately referred to as “that jerk who eats lunch in his cubicle even though we have a lunch room and he really should eat there,” is first and foremost a husband and father. He and his wife and their ten minions I mean children, live in their orbiting space station. No, that burned up in the atmosphere last year. They live in their undersea lab. No, that is not right either, it fell to crush depth three months ago. Well where ever they live that is where you can find them.

By day he is an IT professional, by night When he and his partner in crime, Alex the 486 Beowulf Super cluster are not trying to take over the world they run the “sheep dating service,” also known as sheep breeding, for the local farming cooperative. When he can fit it in he writes short fiction about the fantastic, is a reader with Cast Of Wonders, and an assistant audio producer for Get Published.

He and his alter ego Michell Plested are Co editors of A Method To the Madness: A Guide To the Super Evil and the forthcoming book There is a Magic Portal Under My Sink.

He and his wife home school their minions, I mean kids and teach NFP to anyone who will listen. The rest of his life is devoted to his first love, his family, their chickens, sheep, dogs and now to appease the cat owners, one of those as well.

Other projects:
A Method To the Madness: A Guide To the Super Evil
There is a Magic Portal Under My Sink
Cast of Wonders
Get Published (Audio Production)
Flying Island Press

Guest Post – Parking Lot Characters

This is part of a series where guest authors will share their views on how their belief systems affect the fictional worlds they create. Not all of these people will be religious. If you’re interested in participating, email me at scott@scottroche.com.

Jeff Hite blogs at Barely Controlled Chaos and has been an editor at Flying Island Press. You can follow him on Twitter @JAHite.

If you have ever visited my website, one of the first things that you are going to see is the Warning in the side bar. If says something like this: 1. I have opinions they are my own and you don’t have to like them. 2. I am Catholic, and yes I talk about it. 3, I have kids, and yes I talk about them too. 4. I am both a Star Trek geek and a space science geek and I don’t see a conflict. The one thing that I don’t say there is that I am a writer, and all of these things influence my writing in ways that I can’t even predict or explain.

Being Catholic, I understand that the stance that the Catholic church takes on many issues makes it unpopular these days. I got that. I really do. And for me to follow that faith, and stick to those beliefs means that I take a chance on not being popular as well. But a funny thing happened on my way to my writing desk, I discovered that I didn’t care. The stories are not about me. The truth is that I do not go out of my way to offend people. In fact, I go out of my way not to, both in my stories and in person.

A few years ago, I started working with a company called Flying Island Press. They had a stated goal of publishing great science fiction with a positive spin. It was that positive spin that I really found important. We tended to publish things that were not too graphic in nature or language, but instead focused on the positive aspects. The story didn’t have to end well for the protagonist. It didn’t have to have a happy ending but there needed to be something redeeming about the story that made you feel better about the world when you were done reading it.

I have taken that goal and adapted it for my own use. I want to write stories with a positive spin. Stories that are not too graphic in word or deed, but that bring you to a place that is better than you were when you started. If that means I tell you kind of a corny joke that made you smile, great. If that means you got some sort of inspiration from one of the characters, wonderful. If the story made your day in some way, awesome. But I don’t expect that they will cause you to drop what you are doing and join the next available RCIA Class.

When I write, I write because I have stories in my head. Stories that If I don’t let them out will drive me a little looney.

I write to write. I write because I love stories. As a Catholic and a writer, as you might expect I have had priests and nuns, and brothers and all forms of clergy in my stories. Some of them being great examples of the faith and others not so much. But the majority of my stories are about ordinary people. My stories tend to be about people. That sounds odd because all stories are about people in some ways. What I mean by that is that my stories focus on people and how they react to the situations that I have put them in, and not about my beliefs.

When I was younger, and didn’t care so much, It didn’t matter as much to me what I wrote. But I’ve discovered as I have gotten older, note that I say older and not wiser, I find that it is harder and harder not to care about those things that would be against my faith. That does not mean that I don’t tell all the stories I have in my head. Does that mean that all my stories or even some small number of my stories, have some kind of a meaning that you need to find that will bring you closer to the faith? Probably not. I don’t even do subliminal messages.

I believe that we should live our faith through our actions and our words. I knew a priest once that said, “We show our Christianity not here in the church but in the parking lot after Mass.” That is my goal, as a writer. Not to show my characters kneeling in prayer but to show you what happens when they reach the parking lot. I try to remember that my stories are not about me, they are about the characters. They don’t always share my beliefs, and that is ok. I don’t hate them for that, I don’t even dislike them for that, but I do hope that they are like me in at least one way, they do not go out of their way to offend.