Oh, short stories. How I loathe thee.
I don’t like to write them. I usually don’t like to read them (I can count the short stories I actually enjoy on one hand). And yet, somehow, I have to publish them in order to get this thing called a “following” in order to get this thing called an “agent” in order to get this thing called a “book deal.”
So if you’re anything like me and don’t want to touch short stories with a ten foot pole, here are some ways around writing them.
Write Flash Fiction
I’ll be covering this in more detail next week. But here’s the beauty of flash fiction: where a novel is a cross-country drive and a short story is a day trip, flash fiction is like a high speed car chase that zooms past you and is gone. It’s wonderful. Try it.
Write Backstory for Your Characters
You get to write a short story AND work on character development all in one! You’re welcome.
Take it From Concept to Concrete
This is just about the only way I can write a short story. First, I think of the concept I want to drive home with my readers (ex: heartbreak, illness, love vs. power, etc.). And then I let my mind drift. Whatever it happens to land upon, I try to make it work into a story. If it doesn’t, then I lather, rinse, repeat, until I get it right. This method is not for those in a time crunch. Sometimes I’ll spend a week on a concept just to toss it out the window in vain.
The main thing to remember as you struggle with your short story (because struggle you will) is that there is no harm in scrapping the whole dang thing and starting over. That doesn’t make you a bad writer. That makes you a bad short story writer.
Just kidding. I think I was supposed to end that last one with human.
Regardless, I don’t know of any writer who can whip out short stories like place and bake cookies. So what if it takes you longer than most. The end result is still the same. (Side note: you’re welcome for the cookie pic. Now you’re craving some, amiright?)
What short story are you currently working on? I’d love to read/critique any. Just give me a shout in the comments below!