Thursday, 26 May 2011

To Short Story or Not To Short Story...

I'm having one of those moments. It's a bit like those self-doubt moments but not as bad.

When I first started writing short stories (seriously, rather than just for fun) it was as much as I could do to make 1000 words. The thought of a 2000 word story would have had me shaking my head in disbelief.

Over the years I've gradually increased that figure. First it was 1200, then 1500, 1800, 2000. But now my problem is trying to keep to under 2000 words. Basically I'm failing. I think my brain and fingers are working to their own plan and consider 2500+ quite okay.

My other difficulty is that my ideas just don't stay small enough, they keep wanting to turn into much bigger projects. Okay I won't be short of ideas but it isn't helping me write shorter stories.

Perhaps I let my imagination run away with my ideas and I need to exert more control.

Maybe I need to work on one of my longer projects for a while- it's happened that way before.

Perhaps some writers are short story writers and don't want to produce a novel, so it's not unreasonable to assume there will be some for whom the reverse is true and those who want to do both.

I want to do both, but I'm realistic enough to know that if I can't get the short story right, then a successful novel is going to be even more difficult.

Well, back to the short story editing.

One day, one day...


Rosemary Gemmell said...

An interesting post, Carol. I was always most definitely a short story writer and the shorter the better sometimes. Yet, here I am suddenly writing full length and, suprisingly, some of my short stories are getting longer!

Carolb said...

Thanks Rosemary. It is an interesting that you are now starting to write longer stories since your full length book has been completed.

Diane Fordham said...

Thanks for the post Carol. The other day I set out to write a 900 word short story, before I knew what was happening it turned into a 2100 word short story. I considered cutting it back, but the thing was I felt I told that particular story in the number of words that was needed for that story, and submitted it. Though I must admit I do enjoy the challenge of writing a complete short story in a limited number of words. I wonder whether we over-think sometimes though?

Shirley said...

I find it hard to write short stories and rarely do. I much prefer writing at length, so that plots can be really thrashed out and like you I find ideas want to be bigger projects.

Carolb said...

Diane, you could be right about over-thinking. I've started to realise that each story has it's own length and will be much better if I don't try to make it fit- I did this recently and I lost too many vital bits that now need to be put back in.

Shirley, thanks, that is reassuring.