Thursday, February 16, 2012

Totally Epic Adventures in Short Story Writing

So, I promised a blog post about short stories. So here you go with the nonsensical ranting.

I don't write short stories very often. When I say "very often" I mean almost ever. As of late that has changed. I am hoping to apply for the Clarion workshop (stories are currently in the hands of my Beta readers. Not at all nervous) and that required two short stories. Generally speaking, I have nothing against short stories. On the contrary, I admire those who can create a well-crafted short story and enjoy reading them.

But I can't write a short story to save me damn life. (Well, couldn't, hopefully I've gotten better).

My biggest issue with short stories is my inability to embrace brevity. I like words. As a matter of fact, I LOVE words. Words are great. I love them so much that I am incapable of not using a whole bunch of them. This has always been a bit of a problem, really. I think of these conversations between characters and little subplots and I want to include them ALL. This usually is not possible, or at least not recommended, in general let alone for short stories.

Let me just say that professors HATE that. They do not like getting assignments that are twice as long as they should be.

But really, I believe that even my novel is far too long. I put as much as I can in and with me that is A LOT. In my editing I am learning about cutting things and deleting scenes that don't add enough. It's a struggle that I am working on but I think I've made decent progress.

In my word and scene cutting adventures I've learned that a short story, while contained does not need to be a neatly packaged story with everything explained and cut out. What needs to be included is what is important to the story at hand. In many cases the story has to occur in the middle of what could be a novel. It starts with the action there is no time for exposition. Admittedly, I enjoy that it grants a little more freedom to be nasty with my cliffhangers. I like cliffhangers. Well, maybe not cliffhangers...small hill hangers? Fourth story balcony hangers?

For the most part, the short stories that I've written are back stories and deleted plots from my novel projects. I used to hate short stories but I'm enjoying the change of format and the limitations it presents.

Feel free to discuss. I love writing chats!


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