Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I love short stories...NOT


I had an epiphany the other day as I struggled with my current short story in progress. I mean, they’re SHORT, so they should be easier to pound out than a 90,000 word novel. Right?

Wrong.

I finally hit on WHY. For me, at least, the hardest part of writing a novel is the first 100 pages of the first draft. I know some writers get hung up on the “muddle in the middle,” but for some reason, I don’t worry about that. The revision process gives me ample opportunity to figure out pacing issues. But the whole business of meeting the main characters, setting the foundation for the plot and subplots, figuring out relationships and roles within the story drives me friggin’ nuts!

And what exactly is a short story? At its entirety, it’s under 100 pages. I never have a chance to get up that head of steam that carries me into the rest of the book. The whole story has me slugging along, trying to find the protagonist’s voice. Struggling to nail the plot. Agonizing over past relationships between the main character and the villain.

In my current case, I have to get it all down in 4,000 to 6,000 words. Yikes. No wonder I’m sprouting new gray hairs at a record-breaking rate!

And now it’s time to go back to work on clawing my way to the end, which happens just when I’m starting to get the feel for it all..


2 comments:

Jenna said...

Hah! Yes. Writing short is MUCH harder than writing long. All that characterization has to be packed into those few words, instead of a whole book - or hell, a whole series - and it's hard to do. I SO much admire people who can write short stories well, but I'm not one of them, I'm afraid.

Cheryl Elaine Williams said...

You're on your way, Annette!