Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Jumping into novels too fast: Patience or preference?

Wish I was as patient as Steven King:
The novel is a quagmire that a lot of writers stumble into before they're ready to go there...I started with short stories when I was eighteen. I sold my first one when I was about twenty...I got very comfortable with that format and I never wanted to leave it behind.
But I am not. I do not write short stories. Why don't I write short stories? Because I don't like to read them. Maybe this will change. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right place, but I'm sick of overly sad literature. Can I get some happy endings? Short story recommendations are always welcome. But I am a pessimist in that regard. Every time I read a short story, I have one of the following responses:

1. Feel sad
A. because the story is depressing. B because I'll never write that good
2. Hate or pity the characters  
3. Wonder where the fairies and goblins are
4. Get mad
A. because I found the fairies and goblins and B. now the story is over or C. I hate the characters

I grew up with Harry Potter, folks. He was 11 when I was, but then nature did a very odd thing and his birthdays took longer than mine. Until I met Gabriel, I thought I would marry Harry Potter someday. When I met Gabriel, I knew he was much better for me, but Rowling has still made me hard to please when it comes to books. There are seven books. Seven. Heaven. Sent. Books.

And you want me to read one short story about someone that probably should just kill themselves, or go to jail for killing their baby, or stop feeling sorry for their rapist, or whatever horrors of humanity literary types freak themselves out with.

I don't think so.
So what do I do? I write snippets. And novels that can be massive series. Really tiny and Really big.

I can't do the things that other writers tell me I ought too. I have to go at this the way that I go at it: which is cutthroat, hardcore and willy nilly.

Steven King writes ten pages a day everyday even on his birthday and Christmas. It is quite obvious that this works for him. I write twenty five pages some days and four pages on others. Some days, I write lines that make me so happy that to me they're worth five pages alone. Some days, I watch Family Guy.

I have to do this like me. Even if it means that I don't do short stories (for now. Its always changing.)

Even if that means that when Steven King meant to say soft miry land* I thought...

*this phrase is the definition. i actually had to look it up. do i care that my vocabulary is ish? not at all. what i lack in vocabulary, i make for in.....well....a lot of other things.

Do you write or read short stories? If yes, how does this improve your writing? If no, why not?


  1. Hmm. Should I simply close my short story blog, Night Blooms, then? *sniff* I rather like it.

    I tried twice to thank you for the shout out yesterday, but your blog spat me back out uneaten. Anyway, if I didn't tell you before, your blog now graces my sidebar. I know, the pressure, right? You can handle it.

  2. I find short stories are like a beautiful song cut short. I want more, I want thirty minutes of music but instead I am given only two. At the end of it, I feel cheated, and no manner of re-reading or repeating can satisfy me. That is why short stories give me a bit of an uneasy stomach.