I’m not very good with short stories. I like to read them of course, but for some reason, I’m unable to churn one out. I didn’t start my writing career with short stories, either. For my twelfth grade creative writing class, my short story was twenty pages long. When I wrote my first non-school assigned piece, it was a 140K novel. The few flash fiction pieces for the Writers’ Platform Building Crusade are probably the shortest things I’ve ever written.
Whenever I have an idea, I immediately start thinking how I can work it into a story. I usually have a few characters, the main conflict, and an idea of what the world is like. Then when I start writing, it gets bigger and bigger. I come up with more ideas, more things that happen, more challenges for the characters to face. And pretty soon, I have a novel.
Part of the reason I’m a long-story writer is because I like to spend time with the characters in their world. I’ve never been able to condense their journeys into only a few pages, again, because I like to explore with them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a good thing. Having the skill to say something in two words instead of twenty is an admirable trait. You can do more, experience more, show more…or just do it in fewer words.
What do you think? Any short story writers out there? I’m curious. Can you discern when an idea is a short story and when it is a long one? Is your process for writing them similar?