Short Stories


I mentioned last time that I was playing with the idea of pulling a collection of short stories together.

Usually I would describe myself as a writer of longer stories – novel length. I struggled with the short story feeling it wasn’t enough words to tell the whole story. I couldn’t really see the story as finished after several thousand words. The characters lived on, their stories continued and evolved. How could I stop writing?

For my recent Masters course most of my assessment was by short story. This was a huge learning curve for me. No matter what I thought was best for the characters or the story, I needed to work out how to confine the narrative within the confines of the short story. The university setting offered great support for this learning with the feedback from tutorial groups and tutors.

At the end of the course I have a small pile of reasonable stories that I would like to do something with – but what?

I submitted one (yes, only one) to a fantasy magazine but the readers found it too ambiguous. From my recent reading about self-publishing I now have more confidence in appealing to an audience. I quite enjoy a little ambiguity in my reading, I’m sure there are other such readers out there too.

Each story is quite different ranging across various forms of fantasy and science fiction. I am in the process of editing each one and writing another – that is part treat because it seems like forever since I got to draft some fresh fiction.

This is a real push for me to get some writing out there. It is challenging my self-confidence. I’m also looking at self-publishing the collection which is another challenge. This push into self-publishing is partly to see if I am right about my audience and to see if I can self-publish or whether I want to.

It is worth challenging yourself and pushing your boundaries because you never know what you may learn from the experience or what you may be able to achieve. I have discovered that short stories are worth the time and hopefully that I can tell a story in fewer words. What could you do to push your boundaries?

What have you done to really challenge yourself? What did you learn from that?


Image – Reading a book from Flikr – by ckaroli

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