When I was a junior in college, I got the idea that I should write short stories.
Because novels are cumbersome. I love writing them. I love immersing myself into a big story.
But I figured that short stories are more marketable, will take shorter time to edit, and shorter time to write.
I don’t like writing short stories, though. I don’t feel like I can get to know my characters as well as I can when writing a novel.
It’s very difficult to try and compress a good plot, characters, setting, etc. into such a short length.
It’s so easy to just keep writing and writing and writing… but it’s difficult to chop it up and “kill your darlings” as Faulkner said.
I’ve written just a few short stories so far. One was called “Fish” and it was a finalist in my college’s short story contest.
“Fish” was a very short story. I think it ended up as 800 words.
Strangely enough, I loved editing it. I went through four drafts, trying to trim my word count, make sure I wasn’t overusing adverbs and adjectives, and make sure every word mattered and held meaning inside the story.
I loved my finished product. It wasn’t the overall contest winner, but it did very well. I was surprised.
Since then, I’ve never been able to write short stories. I can’t come up with any ideas that I feel are adequate and it’s hard to get the first draft written. Strangely enough, with a novel, it’s the other way around. I like writing the first draft, but editing is my problem.
Project 1300 was the idea that I would write one first-draft short story per day for as long as it took until I got a reasonable body of material together. Each draft had to be at least 1,300 words long. (I love the number 13, can’t you tell? ^_^) “Fish” was originally a Project 1300 story.
I’ve had writer’s block on Project 1300 because I’ve been more involved with working on my novels, school, and finding a job.
As I said before, I haven’t had many story ideas lately. Ideas are such ephemeral things; they come when I can’t write them down. They come when I’m in the shower, driving, or just about to fall asleep and can’t be bothered getting pencil and paper.
I do intend to restart Project 1300 in 2011, after I finish writing and revising XIII so that it fits my standards.
My main goal is to have a body of short stories that I can revise, submit to publishers and contests, and get my name out with. Once I have a bunch of short stories out there, I’ll feel more confident about publishing a whole novel, at least in my own theory.