Short story / writer relationships are very different to novel / writer relationships.
With a short story there is no creative fatigue. You don’t have night terrors about editing and it’s all wrapped up in a couple of pages, as opposed to dragging on for thirty chapters. Your creative life feels blissful, fun and carefree.
You write a short story, edit it, revise it and share it. After doing all this you put it aside, as in your head it is time to move onto something else. Your short story, however, has other ideas…
It refuses to leave you alone, climbing into your head whilst you sleep and entering your dreams.
As you rise in the morning you feel its presence inside your mind. You go about your daily life trying to ignore it and telling yourself ‘it was just a short story!’ But it won’t go away…
A week later and it is still stalking you in the small hours, hanging out with you whilst you clean the loo and sat in the passenger seat as you drive to work.
It starts to whisper ‘write more of me,’ and ‘I should be a novel!’ which makes you wonder whether this is the start of insanity.
Here’s my advice on handling this challenging situation.
- Expect to enter a denial phase. In your head you will run through all the reasons why you can’t write more of this short story; it was only meant to be a bit of fun, you were not looking for anything serious and it wouldn’t work as a novel.
- Prepare for the short story stalking phase to last a long time. Some stories refuse to leave you alone and I hate to say this, but I have heard story stalking to go on for weeks and even months.
- Expect the short stories to play dirty. Short stories can be demanding and troublesome literary beings. They are also very determined and will bug the hell out of you for as long as it takes to get you to pay them some attention. Expect all sorts of weird stuff happening to you. Your short story is trying to get your attention.
- Tell it to be patient. Best of luck with this one.
- Life’s too short so give it what it wants! Go on, be a devil, write it, turn it into something bigger.
I hope none of you are busy ignoring the demands of a great short story!
What has been your experience with short stories?
Have a fabulous day!