This week, I wrote a short story for the first time ever. You heard me right! A short story.
One about love, loss, and being forgotten. In other words, a story way outside my usual writing space. I write novels. I write YA fiction. I write historical fiction. A short story about a romance languishing with the passing of time is not my usual topic of choice.
And until this week, I had never even tried to write a short story (at least not one on my lonesome). Not ever. I always told myself that short stories weren’t my thing. They were too literary for me, and I would never be able to write one that was good enough to meet my expectations. I wrote commercial fiction and my writing style wasn’t suited for something like a short story.
I don’t know why I had these pre-conceived thoughts, but when one of my friends in our writing group suggested compiling an anthology of short stories, I agreed to write one. And I was faced with the reality of writing something entirely new to me.
At the start, it went exactly as I thought it would. Nowhere. I had no idea where to begin and toiled away with my ideas, making no progress. It was at this point that I took on some advice from Emé Savage, one of the first writers on our Author Spotlight Segment. She suggested treating short stories like a chapter in a book. Ever since we interviewed Emé, that advice had stuck with me. And I finally had a chance to apply it.
In the end, the familiarity of treating my short story like a chapter worked amazingly well. It made the enormity and pressure of an unfamiliar type of writing feel more natural. I ended up producing a piece called Forgotten Love which I’m fairly happy with. It’s not perfect, but as a first effort into the world of short stories, it will do.
How do you tackle writing short stories? Do you find them more difficult than writing novels? Let me know in the comments below.