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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Writing Short Stories

Until recently, I had not written a short story in quite a few years, ten or twelve, maybe longer. Late last year, I found myself at an impasse. I was burnt out on writing novels. The two or three or four I'd been working on for several years had grown tiresome. Revising was a struggle. Late November, I decided to take the rest of the year off. However, I got an idea for a short story and started writing. It went smoothly. In less than a week, I had a finished it. The following week, I wrote another story. The next week, I wrote another one. The week after that, I started another short story and finished it the following week. And now I'm sold on writing short stories. I feel as if I can cover more territory in less time. I've been reinvigorated.

I know that writing novels is the mother load of writing. It's what gets you noticed. It's what sells, much more so than short stories. But, I'm beginning to think that maybe, with the ereaders, short stories will sell again. Reading something on your ereader that you can finish on your work break or while sitting in the doctor's office is desirable for some people. Whether it's a huge demand, or just a slight demand, there is probably a market for it. In fact, I'm sure I heard this from other writers.

I have no idea whether short stories will attract many readers. But, I'm willing to try. So, my writing plan now is to write short stories for a while, maybe the rest of this year. I'd like to publish a book of short stories every couple of months. I'm trying to write one story each week. That should give me about six to eight stories for each book. It should give me close to fifty stories for the year, and six books. Can I accomplish this? I'm not sure, but I will give it a try. I know, a positive thinker would say, I will do it. I will accomplish my goal. OK, I'll give it a try. I will accomplish my goal. There. Now you have it.

15 comments:

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I much prefer short stories myself. I love novels, but short stories are my personal favorite.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

My short story attracted quite a few (I think). I like short stories. I should work on more.

Paula R C Readman said...

I love writing short stories. You can read a couple of mine if you wish. Follow the links on the right hand side of my blog. Mastering writing short stories helps to improve your novel writing skills. Try entering short stories competitions and good luck if you do.

oceanfullofbottles said...

I took a lot of fiction writing and short story writing classes in college, those were my favorite. The funny thing is when I used to write short stories they were always quite long because I tend to be wordy, and I tend to linger on characters and feelings.

I've had a story stuck in my mind, something I image all the time, and I wish I could actually write it! It's hard to make myself. I feel almost as if I am embarrassed, afraid to put it on paper or type on a screen.

Do you ever feel you have a story you want to tell but you feel so hesitant about it that you can't begin? How do you get over that ?

Richard Hughes said...

Oceanfullofbottles: There's only been one or two stories I wanted to write, but couldn't, because they were too emotional for me to handle. I would like to write erotica, but can't bring myself to do it. I have old religious morals that bother me, like guilt. Even though I no longer pay much attention to my religious upbringing, deep inside, I have fears and guilt. I've gradually dealt with many of them, but erotica, I just can't overcome.

oceanfullofbottles said...

Hi Richard: Thanks for answering my question. I understand that dilemma, when your morals stand in the way of creativity. Do you think you would feel ashamed if you wrote under a pseudonym?
I think I have no problem telling a fictional story that can be a little racy, so to say, but the problem is I would feel scared to let anyone read it. I wouldn't want to share it, and if I can't share it, then I don't see a point in writing it.

Richard Hughes said...

Writing erotica under a pseudonym would not relieve me of the guilt and "shame" I would feel from writing it. It's a psychological problem I've never been able to solve. Religious beliefs restrict us if we take them seriously. But, for those not under such restrictions, they're quite happy and apparently guilt free. Lucky for them.

As far as being afraid to show your story, that is easy to overcome. Just write it and show it. Joining a writing group is a good way to overcome the reluctance. I've been a member of writing groups for about ten or eleven years, though I am not now in one. There's where you can really learn what you're good at and where you need to improve, and overcome your fears.

Julia Hones said...

Hi Richard. Read this blog post about short stories.
http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2012/04/why-you-should-be-writing-short-fiction.html
I think they are slowly getting popular. There are important writers who never wrote a novel. Think of Jorge Luis Borges. And he was an autodidact. Regarding your comment about shame and guilt for writing an erotic story... I was left wondering. Is the erotic side of the story that ignites guilt? or is it the theme? Anyway, writers need to be daring and if the story has a reason to exist, then why would you stifle it? Just a thought.

Richard Hughes said...

Julia, thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

As far as writing erotica goes, I think it's the erotic side that raises my guilt. The theme doesn't bother me at all. I just think, would I want my mother or my children to read something like that which I wrote. I think though that it goes deeper than that. Religious guilt, which is not usually true guilt. But the conditioning is there, and hard to ignore. Not sure it makes sense, but it's something like that. The guilt is a conditioned response, I guess. I should delve into this deeper.

J. A. Bennett said...

Short stories are an awesome way to get your name out there. I'm doing a Christmas anthology this year for the same reason. Keep writing and you'll be amazed at what happens :)

Thank you for the kind comment on David's blog!

Julia Hones said...

Richard, yes. It is a conditioned response. Joyce Carol Oates is very religious. This did not stop her from writing something erotic. If you explore these writers you will gain some confidence. Other writers are like mentors...

Clarissa Draper said...

Short stories are great to write between novels. I need to start writing more short stories and create a collection.

Richard Hughes said...

Clarissa, just do it.

Helene Titsch said...

I love to read but, when it comes to that novel and trying to find time, it can be daunting. Love the short story idea! And now I am reminded that I have a novel to finish reaching and one waiting on the shelf...on my!

David P. King said...

I really enjoyed the string of flash fiction and short stories I did in 2011. I should do some more of those. Looking forward to yours! :)