For the summer, I set myself the goal of writing five short stories. Halfway decent ones, that is. So far, I’ve written one and a couple of halves.
I’ve heard from various sources that writing short is hard, partly because it’s so easy to ramble on and on and consider it literature, but also because it’s harder to plot an entire story arc in an economy-sized space. Oh, boy am I finding that last one to be true. Plotting isn’t an easy process for me under any circumstances, but it certainly becomes harder when the goal is to draw people in without a lot of room for setting the scene.
My dear friend Rosemary and I were discussing this last time we got together. We each have a problem where we start out with a short story idea, and then it gets longer and longer and longer…
Not a bad thing if you want to write like Anthony Trollope. But we can’t all be Anthony, now can we? (By the way, I am nearly finished with The Way We Live Now, and I absolutely adore it. No dis on the fantastic Mr. Trollope.)
In my opinion, the best short stories contain novels within them, or even a serial amount of conflict, emotion, and character building. But how to condense it? Ah, that is my constant cry, what I howl to the moon as tears stream down my face.
Not literally, people. I’m not that odd.
On a positive note, however, I set myself a goal for the month of July, to write a piece of flash fiction every day. Hopefully, this will teach me to come up with ideas more readily, and to be on the lookout for story seeds wherever I go. Plus, some of the flash that I write might contain the possibilities of expansion to fit into my summer short stories goal.