Revisiting Short Stories

Early on in this blog, I wrote a post wondering what the deal was with short stories, why everyone insisted on telling you to write them when they do not prepare you for novel-writing (and vice versa), and whether or not there was any sort of point.

Well, I figured it out.

Life’s been weird this year.  I haven’t really been able to work on my novel projects (for a variety of reasons), but I have been able to write and edit several short stories.

No, they don’t help you hone your novel-writing skills.  But they give you a chance to experiment, a chance to get things done and out, and a chance to see some growth.

Let’s face it.  Novels take time.  Even the speediest of writers still takes about a month per first draft and the rest of us, well.  Then there are edits and rewrites, critiques and yet more edits.  Then you’ve got to write a query and a synopsis, research agents (assuming you don’t have one), and then submission can take years before you get a bite, assuming you ever do.

It’s a lot of work and success is long in coming.

I admittedly turned to the short stories because I was going insane not getting things done, and depending on length I can turn one out in a few hours to a few days.  But it’s been so freeing.  When you submit a short story somewhere, you don’t need to write a query, you just tell the publisher your title, genre, and word count, and you’re good to go.  Responses come more often, and it’s easier to have multiple projects out.  And best of all, I’m getting more encouraging responses than I ever have in my on/off year of novel submission.

So, no, they don’t help with the novels.  But they help you feel like you’re doing something, that your writing actually does not suck, and that maybe, one day, you will get this.  And we each of us need that boost from time to time.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by GD on 2011/06/17 at 11:59 AM

    Short stories are a great way to keep sharp in-between projects. And sometimes, you just have random bursts of inspiration where you can see the entire plot immediately- those are the ingredients of the short story.

    Great illuminating post! I have a writing blog at http://shelleddreams.wordpress.com/ Perhaps we can trade links and list each other on our blogrolls?

    Reply

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