Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Problem with Short Stories (and me)

Last night I went to a launch party for Shannon Messenger's LET THE STORM BREAK. There were great conversations about writing between the three authors in attendance (Kiersten White and Kasie West joined her for the event). But there was one moment that stuck out to me. Shannon spoke about her Keeper series and how it began with a short story-- and  now she has three 100,000+ word novels because of one little exercise.

And that's what is going on with me right now.

My NaNoWriMo project, DEATH NOTICE, started out with one character with a bigger story than I imagined. My Stone Circle critique partner told me there were two many open questions for a short story. I was developing another world. And he was right. I had two main characters with so much complexity, plus a side character full of mystery, how did I not see it?

That's when I knew there was too much. Now I have a novel written from both perspectives (that's in desperate need of repair).

Flash forward a few months. I promised my husband the story of a prominent character in KIN. Again, I sent a snippet to my Stone Circle group. After they read a page and a half, I asked them, "Seriously, how do I write a short story?" I knew, again, that there was too much going on. And they both told me you need a single, simple focus when writing on a shorter scale.

This is not how my brain works (and thank goodness for their divine wisdom).

After doing research, and thinking long and hard, I now have enough ideas for TWO novels in the same universe as my dear KIN. My lovely and clever husband, I believe, tricked me.

This is not what I expected from myself this year. I want to write a witch story. To revise the novels on the back burner. Now, I have two more novels with their gnarled fingers clutched around my heart.

They won't let go. Inspiration is around me and my brain is bursting.

And is this a reason to complain? Maybe a smidgen? What I do know is if I need a novel idea, writing a short story first might be the way to go. Sometimes, detours are part of a journey.



  1. Indeed! Detours can be a good thing! I am glad you are rolling
    with the twists and turns of your writer's journey!

  2. Thank you, lady! It's hard to do sometimes, but it's bound to happen.


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