I find that I’m constantly coming up with ideas–whether they’re detailed or just a little spark of inspiration–yet I never seem to explore them all like I should. And sometimes my “pen” stops, especially when I’m in one of those lazy “I-don’t-care-about-anything” phases.
Over the last few years, it seems all I’ve focused on were novel ideas. Howver, not so very long ago, I was an avid short story writer.
Ok, let me revise that–I was an avid flash fiction writer. What do I mean? Well, back a few years ago–sometime around December of 2005, I found a website called FaithWriters. They have a Weekly Writing Challenge; each week has a specific theme. The stories submitted can’t be longer than 750 words.
The first time I entered, my story actually placed in the Editor’s Choice–the top eight entries of the week–which meant it was published in their quarterly anthology. It was the only one that actually placed that high; however I nearly always placed in the top 50 (and they cap it at 200 entries per week).
I used to write almost faithfully for the challenge. Most of the stories came to me while sitting in class in college and I’d write part of it in my notebooks. (If you’re curious, you can see some of what I’ve written here. ).It’s since waned significantly–I think I’ve written one story in the past year, and it wasn’t all that good. 😛
I wonder sometimes how I lost that spark for me to be able to write flash fiction.
But all is not lost. I’ve been focusing on trying to come up with short story ideas (in the middle of trying to figure out my novel…). I think writing those flash fiction pieces really helped me practice my ability to write–even if they weren’t all that great–and I think I’ve regressed a little.
I already have one idea–sort of–for a little “series” of short stories. It’s still going to have a Japan setting however–brace yourselves for this–it’s going to actually be a contemporary setting 😛 Me, write contemporary? Yeah…it’ll be a challenge. It’s the first contemporary piece I’ve tried to write in like, forever.
Anyway, I’d like for the stories to revolve around the stranger aspects of Japanese mythology (of which there are MANY) although I’m unsure as to how to tie that in to an actual story with a solid beginning, middle and end 🙂
I’ve also come up with the idea to write a brief story about the background of my Yuki-onna and how she developed into it. If anything, that will help me identify with her character and story more and perhaps I can make it decent enough to submit to short story contests. We’ll see. I still have to write the thing–it may not come out like I think.
If you’re a writer, have you ever tried your hand and writing short stories? What do you find difficult about it? What do you like about it as compared to writing a novel?
Also, this Monday (the 7th), will be my 200th blog post. In celebration, I’ll have a little giveaway, so come back and see how you can win 🙂
Comments on: "A Writer’s Pen Never Stops" (10)
I’ve written a short story or two, but not in a long time. The problem I find with a short is that I can’t fit everything I want to into it. I found a box of things I wrote back in high school and college recently. One of my short stories really hit a nerve with me. I’m thinking of turning it into a novel. So, there’s another reason to write flash. What you come up with could turn into something even bigger.
Very true–one of my flash fiction stories gave me the inspiration to start my other WiP. It changed significantly from it, but the spark to get me started was there.
I started with short stories, and they always turned out about 8000 words. The ideas I had were always too long. And it didn’t take me long to start getting ideas that were novel length. I guess people have the novel temperament or the short story temperament – or I simply have to waffle on for a long time and make things complicated!
Congrats on being shortlisted on your first outing – good going!
ps – this may not fit in with your comment format, so do delete if so – I notice you’re having a giveaway to celebrate your 200th post. I’m having a giveaway to mark the end of NaNo etc – a free PDF of my book Nail Your Novel. No need to register with anything, send email addresses anywhere – just download and enjoy. Would your readers be interested? If so, email me and I’ll send the permalink. And congrats on reaching 200. Roz
My problem is generally the opposite — if I can’t finish a story within one or two sittings, it becomes harder to focus on it. I get writing ADD. Even now, with 50K of my novel safely behind me, I’m having an amazingly hard time pushing through that 15K or so that’s left of it now that NaNoWriMo is over. 😛
On the other hand, the short story gears are starting to turn in my head again. While none of what I’m writing is all that great, I’m enjoying the flow of ideas coming along. It’s just a matter of latching onto one and trying to write it down.
I used to write lots of short stories, but have focused mainly on novels in the last few years.
I won first place in a writing contest for the second short story I ever wrote. I haven’t written one since because I’m afraid I’ll not be good after all! (This was only a few months ago.)
I think short stories are easier than novels because there’s less to juggle. Yet I wonder how one could make a career out of short stories? Wouldn’t they run out of ideas?
I’ve tried it but I don’t seem to have a passion for shorts.
Have fun with all those ideas!
I love short stories! It’s how I started really writing. When i tried to write a novel, I found my scenes were too quick because I was used to the flow of a short. It took a long time to get used to a different sort of pacing.
When I wrote my last short, Warrior Bride, it was like coming home! The story practically wrote itself.
I find it’s great to write something shorter between longer projects. It gives you something to clear your head and recharge.
I only write short stories, and have yet to try a novel. (I’d like to write one someday, but no luck so far, lol)
In my experience, it’s hard sometimes to come up with the right words to evoke the right atmosphere for the moment. But ironically, that’s part of why I love short stories so much. They take so much thought and care, and when you’re done, they can be really beautiful pieces of prose that are (really) art.
I think that’s part of the reason why I have yet to write a novel. I love the simplicity, the brevity of a short story. They were the first pieces of fiction I had a strong affinity for, and if I am asked to pick favorite pieces of literature, more often than not, my list is comprised of short stories. *shrugs* Maybe it’s just my “thing.”