How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Short Story Adventure

I’m a novel-girl. I’ve never been able to write very good short stories … I find them limiting to my wide ramblings and mania to get every detail known. : ) However, although I don’t find them as satisfying as novels, the genre has always intrigued me. After all, an hors d’oeuvre can be as beautiful and memorable as a full meal. I’m always on the lookout for short stories that pack a punch -- for example, the one I thus far think the best: “The Pearl” by Isak Dinesen. (At least I believe I think it the best … Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Ambitious Guest” is positively haunting.) As memorable as these are, I still had to look up the titles of both of them!

Even though certain details are forgettable, these authors did super well at coming up with a powerful concept that just would not be as absorbing if developed into a full-length novel.

I’ve written about four or five short stories, but I wouldn’t call any of them publishable. But recently, as part of my writing class, I did write one with the hopes of seeing it published sometime. To help me get started, I referred to this awesome, excellent, very comprehensive article by Joy, called "The Art of Short Story Writing" on Elizabeth Rose’s blog Living on Literary Lane.

I thought for a day and a half to come up with an idea and message that would be best said by a short story … something that would enter into the reader’s heart quickly, before they knew what had hit them. That’s a bit of what I believe a short story should be like. I came up with an idea that seemed to fit the bill … admittedly I have yet to have anyone else read it, but if it doesn’t work I hope it’s the narrative’s fault and not the idea! As for the narrative, I hope it’s good enough to be tweaked instead of scrapped.

With my ingot of an idea in hand, I sat down to hammer it out, writing down anything that came to mind to make it a fully-developed story -- basic plot, characters, setting, back story -- and one evening wrote about 1,070 words. Wow! Did that feel good! It took me several thinking sessions and two more writing sessions before whoosh! I finished it last Sunday night. From idea to the last sentence, it took me about 9 days, and only 3 days of actual writing. It was so fast, and yet so satisfying, that this short-story business might be addicting!

Once I have some opinions on my short story, I’ll share the title and a bite-size synopsis.

What is your experience with short stories? Do you read them, write them, and love them, or do you hate them? Do you have any good advice?


  1. Some people don't feel comfortable with short stories--but that doesn't mean they can't write them. Trollope definitely didn't have a short story genius, and that didn't prevent him from publishing MANY of them. :P And short story writing can be learned, I've found. It's not something you have to just know how to do or you can't even try. I used to think shorts were impossible for me--but when Hannah was cleaning her bookcase, I found this old one I'd forgotten I ever wrote. And you know what, it was pretty good!

    Curious about your short story. Keep me posted. :)

    1. Yeah, I would say I'm not comfortable with writing them yet; once I'm finished with one, I feel like I've just gotten started! But they're easier than I used to give them credit for. : )
      How intriguing to find your forgotten story! Maybe you could tell me what it's about sometime.
      Thanks for commenting! I'm glad I piqued your interest about my short story. : )