Writing Short Fiction with an Eye on Long Fiction
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I’m in the process of wrapping up the second of two short stories that I’ve written in between drafts of Shadow of the Black City. With each short story I write, my awareness of things grows and my writing improves. Things blurred in the murk of my peripheral awareness are coming into focus.
Right now I’m the equivalent of a guy in a blackout who just found the circuit breaker with a weak flashlight. That may be a bit of an overstatement, but with how much I’ve learned in the space of a few weeks, I can only imagine how much I still don’t know.
I want to see the whole house bathed in light.
For me, the appeal of the short story is summed up by a couple of quotes from Janet Burroway in Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft:
The greater the limitation in time and space, the greater the necessity of the pace, sharpness, and density.
The form of the novel is an expanded short story form. It asks for a conflict, a crisis, and a resolution…
Sounds like stuff I want to do in my work whether regardless of the form. I love how the limitations of the short story force me to economize for effectiveness in plot, character and theme.
It’s also nice to take a break from the novel and explore unmapped areas of my imagination. Those forays into the unknown are great for churning up the subconscious and seeing what ideas arise. Writing begets more story ideas and better writing.
How can you lose?