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!
There are 5 stages to your short story demanding to be turned into something bigger:
- Bliss. You are enjoying, what we in the trade call, short story bliss. 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 finally finish your short story and let out a sigh of literary satisfaction. It was quite a story that you created and one which will take a few days to recover from. Your story had a magical feel to it and the character you created gave you a strange tingling sensation, something you haven’t experienced in a long time. You were left wanting more but its over now. With a smile you slot it into your writing folder and go take a refreshing nap.
- Stalking. Your short story refuses to leave you alone. It climbs into your head whilst you sleep and enters your dreams. When you rise you can 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.
- Denial. You enter the denial phase quite quickly. In your head you 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. Your mind suddenly plays devil advocate and says stuff like “good things happen when we are having fun, you are a writer which means you are always looking for something serious and it does have the makings of a great novel!” You shrug your shoulders and look away. Your short story then whispers “you can’t stop thinking about me – can you?” Cue your frustrated scream. Aghh – this attractive short story has a point! It has been difficult to forget about and there have been occasions where you have found yourself daydreaming about how it could be turned into something bigger. But it was only meant to be a short story!
- Mediation. To help you work through this difficult creative time you enter a phase of mediation. This is where you look to a third party to help you resolve your differences. You email your short story to an honest writer friend in the hope that they will say “leave it as a short story!” They have never let you down before. You sit and wait. Their email pops up within the hour and to your horror, in capitals are the words ‘THIS WOULD MAKE A GREAT BOOK!’ The short story dances around in your head chanting “told you so!”
- Hope. After weeks of denial and pushing your short story away you finally give in. You and your short story head for the writing desk with a hop, skip and a jump. Three months later and you are getting stuck into your fab new novel, which started life as a short story!
I hope none of you are busy ignoring the demands of a great short story!
Have a fabulous day!