This year alone, I’ve completed a humorous Memoir, two novella’s and nine short stories and I have two novels in progress, plus I edited a full-length novel for a close friend and I’ve been submitting short stories and flash fiction to competitions, so it’s been a busy year so far, and all that while, I’m living as normal a life as possible, just like every one else. To say, I love what I do would be the understatement of the year, because I far more than love it. I eat, breathe, sleep, and even shower with it and I don’t regret any of it. I find it takes a great deal of commitment to write daily and a ton of discipline, and I take the greatest joy in having deadlines. So I thought I’d take a few minutes to share with you what I’m learning while writing in different genre’s and different styles as I travel along in this journey.
I’ll begin with the short stories, and I’ll tell you why I love writing them so much. At first, the process was frightening to me. Always being a wordy creature ever since I was a teensy child I thought I’d find it difficult to write something with a boundary, in most cases, of three-thousand words. If you’re a writer, you know how limiting that can be, because it is, but here’s the thing; a beautiful full-length story focused on a single issue can be shown in just three-thousand words. And it doesn’t have to sound contrived. The organic process can flow just as easily here as it can in a full-length novel. The only difference is, the writing of short stories literally forces you to think about what the story is, and what it isn’t. There’s no room for the fluffy stuff if it isn’t necessary and there’s no room for useless words. It commands you to narrow your focus on the main intention of your story and for whom the story is about and what’s their final outcome, and it forces you to cut those people or things that the story isn’t about. And it can be as melodious or restricted as you choose; that is to say, it can be a beautifully painted portrait of your character and his or her dilemma, or starkly written and succinct. It’s your choice. And I love too that I can play with multiple genre’s here. So far, I’ve done human interest fiction, horror, supernatural, Christian fiction and non-fiction as well, and it’s a fantastic feeling to have so many choices.
I’ve taken stories I’ve written that were much longer than three-thousand words, some as many as six-thousand words, and cut them to bare bones. Continue reading