[Part of a continuing series on where my fiction writing is at.]
Another update today on my writing and a little introspection further down the page.
I’m a little over half way done with a second draft of my new short story, “P.” I’m going to hold back on the title reveal until the second draft is in the can. That’s partly because I don’t know if I’m satisfied with the story’s working title. Also, I would like to get the second draft (for me, always the hardest draft) done and off to Beta readers before I start promoting it. I just want to make sure the piece hangs together and works, before I start promoting or talking about it.
Which brings us to…
The Other Stories
I have three other stories I’m submitting now to magazines. I’m going to keep submitting those until they reach about 20 rejections. (This is based on some earlier feedback on my “rejection tolerance”). Then, it’ll be time to think about retiring (“trunking”) the ones which pass that threshold. So far, none of them have reached it. There is one, however, that’s getting close.
So much for the writing update…On to more interesting matters…
I may be getting a little “burnt out” on short stories. I have always felt I’m a writer who likes to write long. I have a lot of difficulty keeping my tales to the 7,500 words (or less) standard limit for short stories. I simply want to expand on scenes, characters, etc. to what I consider a “natural” length. Even my short pieces tend to be long: “The Ghul of Yazd” was over the 7,500 word limit for a short story.
In addition, many of my ideas tend to be for longer pieces. If you’re looking for someone to blame for this, blame my characters or Russian novelists. I can’t seem to stuff the best characters into a 7,500-word story. They just won’t have it. They’re always there in my head saying:
“What about this, Darius?”
“Oh! Don’t forget me in that scene! I would be fabulous!”
“Oh, and what would I do if you only placed me in that situation? Just imagine it!”
I also blame Russian writers for this. I do. In high school, I got hooked on Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and the like (those wordy bastards!). And as you probably know, they write very long, dense books. Their influence on me was huge. These books (The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina, etc.), in fact, are one of the reasons I became a writer. (But that’s a post for another time).
So, I blame them collectively: my characters and the Russians. I can’t say I’ve decided to act on this impulse to write long, but it’s there. Right now, I have a couple more short stories I want to get done, including “P.” But that doesn’t stop me from pre-writing or researching or thinking about how to plot out a novel…
Now does it?
See you next time,
2 thoughts on “Writing Update and…Short Stories Reconsidered?”
I liked the short stories of Tolstoy. THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV is a great novel. I think the best collection of short stories is DUBLINERS by James Joyce. Here is a little more on Dostoyevsky:
I was blown away when I first read The Brothers Karamazov. It had everything I look for in literature. It was a well-told tale, but with lots of psychological and philosophical depth. More than anything else, it’s the book that made me want to be a writer.
There’s a lot more to Russian literature, of course, but Fyodor Mikhailovich got me started down that path. For that, I’m eternally grateful.