I can’t remember the last time I finished a short story. In recent years, it’s been all about finishing novels.
That changed yesterday.
I Think I Remember How to Do This
While I have a decent backlog of short stories for the Not About Lumberjacks podcast, I know I need to start writing new stories now, so in a couple years I’m not left scrambling to produce stories all the time or saying, “Well, I’m done!”
I used to knock out a short story every month or so. In recent years — as I mentioned — that no longer happens because I’ve focused so much on novel-length fiction. Recently, though, I gave myself a deadline to have a short story ready for the narrator (the story is from a female point of view, so I figured a female narrator would be much better than me), and I wrapped that up yesterday.
I’ve heard back from two of three beta readers, and the story is enough of a hit that I feel good about the next episode of the podcast. (In fact, one of the readers said it’s their favorite thing I’ve ever written. When someone tells you that with tears in their eyes, it’s clear you’ve succeeded with what you set out to do.)
A Novel Effect
The funniest thing about the two short stories I’ve worked on for the podcast is the urge to run with every idea along the way. Not simply rolling a thought around in my head to see it the idea belongs in the story, but playing things out over years of story time.
The kind of thing my mind does when writing novels.
I want to turn these stories into novels. It’s a hard thing to fight, and I don’t know if that’s because my mind is wired for novels right now, or if they are stories deserving extension to novel length. In the past, a short story was always a short story, and a novel was always a novel.
So this kind of thing is new, and I realize there are worse problems to have. The best way I’ve found to figure things out is to simple do the work, and I’m glad “the work” again includes short fiction.
Good news, certainly. I did hardly ANY writing at all in 2015 (short stories or novels), but now I can’t find enuf time to get down the stuff that’s roaring into my head. As you say, there are worse problems to have.