Short & Sweet

I like to consider myself more of a novelist…a book-writer, if you will. I seem to come up with more long-winded ideas than short and sweet ones. Though, I occasionally recall the reality that only an insane, prolific writer could manage finishing 30 books in one’s lifetime (also, I’d like to be in some literary magazines, and no lit mag is gonna take something 100 pages long); therefore, I go on short story rants. Currently, I’m on my second short story rant. Oh, but you’d like to know the long, winding road I took to get here, don’t you?

Well, it all began in 2011 (as everything does) when I got a notion that I’d like to write short things. Well, before then in 2009/2010, I wrote very short installments for my high school newsletter once a month; those installments were only 500 words each (paltry!) and formed chapters in a small “book” called Animal Kingdom, a genius idea that is quite possibly the worst thing I have ever written in my entire life…no matter how hard I try to tell myself it could be OK, I shall always hate it. Thus, I began to write long things–or so I tried.

So, back to 2011… Eventually, I recognized that one chapter of a novel shouldn’t be one, singular page of “This is what we did. The end!” like some idiot’s diary (but without the melodrama). Thus, I learned to be verbose. Naturally, I recalled those great days when I had slaved over Literature class, writhing my feeble mind to comprehend the words flooding before my eyes on flipped pages, and made fun of (constantly) the people whose professions centered around spending 30 pages describing in “please shoot me now” detail a piece of apple pie (What book was that? It drove me nuts; I know it exists!). So, that experience left me a finely-tempered distaste for description insanity. Thus, I wrote short “I went to school today, and it was boring” chapters.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Well, in 2011, I discovered that the short story is man’s way of making writing a story idea simpler than dragging it on for 90 years in a book. So, those ideas with not many events could now be written. Of course, I took the “short story” as an excuse to breathe away all my thousands of ideas in quick jaunts so that I’d never have to hear of them again and so that I could, instead, work on my novels!!

So, there I was in college of 2012. I had taken a Fiction Writing class in which I was taught that short story writers take their craft as seriously as novelists and that the shorter version is not just a “dump” for me to throw all my blaeh to get it over with. Weellll…Let’s just say I learned my lesson. I also learned how to write later in 2011 so that nothing stunk anymore, but I digress.

But still, I can’t write short stories that are long! Most of mine are only 2,000 words, and I think they each served their purposes well! Naturally, I’m trying to write something 5,000-8,000 words to send to the Tribune’s [online] literary magazine called Printer’s Row.

Thus, the short story rants. I dig up new ideas and try to make those “short-long,” or I steal existing book ideas (my own) that I think would be better short. So far, I have short story fever, but I have written only a few paragraphs of a couple new ideas and have revised a current story (of which I had written only a part). Meanwhile, I’m working on my novel, Life in the Shadows! Read samples on now!

Well, allow me to end this nonsense with an end statement. Yes, I have formed my own style which bridges the laconic with the verbose (still, I hate to go on description rants). Yes, I learned short stories are not to be treated lightly; in fact, I worked very hard on my first official one, “Flicker,” thinking it would be published (surprise! It wasn’t, but I self-published it on Smashwords, so there ;p), and I enjoyed every minute of it…just like a mini book. No, I don’t write short stories all the time–only when I have my “rants.” During the first short story “rant,” I wrote “Flicker” and some other really bad ones, which are all short. Oh, and besides FM’s short stories, I don’t really like to talk about short stories all that much.

So, on that note…back to my book!

Next time: what makes a certain idea “short” or “long”-worthy?

Here’s a hint: complexity!


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