Short Story Struggle

10:44 AM

I must admit, I never liked short stories. A novel was always my best friend, with pages upon pages to look forward to, and usually a good resolution. Short stories left me feeling unsatisfied, sometimes desperately wanting more, and other times feeling like I'd eaten a bad piece of leftover cake. I just didn't enjoy them.

I also never wrote short stories. My "all or nothing" mindset wanted to write novels, fat and tangible, and with the possibility of publication in a slick hardcover. I wanted none of this writing 5-10 pages for some magazine. If it wasn't a book, it didn't feel legit.

And then there's the fact that it's hard for me to be brief. The few times in life that I started to write a short story, it ended up getting so out of hand that it really needed to be a novel. But I never allowed myself to work on more than one novel at a time, so the stories ended up unfinished, brushed aside for my more "important" work.

But lately I've been rethinking the whole short story thing. I must say that the introduction of Figment has made me want to share my work there, some writing that could be public, for "fun," and that others would hopefully enjoy. And I'm definitely not ready to put any of my completed novels online, especially the one that I'm revising and would like to pursue publication for.

Short stories are an entirely different beast. They might be just the thing to post, written up in less time with less commitment, and more freedom to just write something fun, since it's not intended for "official" publication, and to build an audience who (hopefully) cares about my writing. I could also use short stories to explore plot ideas that I like, but don't have the interest to develop an entire novel around. You know, a sort of novella. A quick write.

Confession: I have been working on one such "novella" since last fall. I got an intriguing idea while free-writing during one of the excellent "Writing for Children LIVE" sessions (man, I miss those!), and I really wanted to develop it. So I began writing it down. The story has expanded considerably since I started (it's definitely more of a "mini novel" than a short story :P), but I'm about 75% of the way through and I'm enjoying the experience immensely. It's nice to write mushy, dramatic, young-adult stuff... inconsistently, without pressure. And sometimes it's embarrassing. ;)  I'm not sure when this story will be complete enough to post on Figment (my "serious" writing takes priority) but eventually I would like to get it up there, for laughs, if nothing else. :)

Do you write short stories/novellas/fluffy pieces? And do you like to read other writer's "less serious" work, via Figment, or somewhere else? I'd love to know your thoughts!


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