Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Place for the Short Stuff

Inspired by the Story a Day in May challenge and a recent post on Writer's Unboxed, I've completed a short story. It's been many many years since I attempted a short story.

The reason is simple - I love to explain, to ramble on, to explore tangents and multiple story lines. Short fiction requires an economy of words and an inefficiency of plot that I claim to dislike, but the truth is, I'm just not very good at it.

I'd rather ramble and figure out my point as I go along. That's so much easier that constructing a story that is complete in under 10 pages.  For me, writing more has always been easy. It's writing less that is so difficult.

And then I read Suzanne Windsor Freeman's post What Novelists Should Know About Short Fiction. So I decided to write a short piece - an economical yarn.

The story, Obstruction, is actually a true story, but it happened so long ago - and memory and age being what they are - it may have more fiction in it than reality.

Here's one more reason to write short fiction - in addition to all of the wonderful things Suzanne lists in her post - the light at the end of the tunnel is quite close.

I remember struggling through chapters of The Board of Dead, feeling as if I would never reach the end. Obstruction wrote so easily - because I had such a short path to follow in reaching the end, I found myself eager to finish, more enthusiastic than I'd been about writing for months. It was fun! And what an enormous psychic lift to have finished the story (at midnight) on the day I began it.

I think I am still a novelist at heart, but now I also see a place for short fiction in my life as well.

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