Thursday, August 30, 2012

On Shorts

Interesting look at short stories by Ian Mond who admits to being burned out on short stories after reading them for eighteen months straight.

I know a bit of how he feels since I've been participating in the ShortStory365 project this year.  I'm woefully behind in posting to the site, but not in reading the stories.  I usually read at least one short a day and sometimes several but I don't always post about the stories because they don't seem worthy of asking someone else to read them.

And it's not just other writer's short stories, but my own.  I was in the middle of writing a story about a month ago and I sat back and asked myself what the hell am I doing?  I've written this story many times over.  If I'm bored with it, won't my readers be ho-humming the story, too?  Which has me asking myself, how do you make a story memorable?  How far can you push the envelope of genre and still hang on to your readers?  Do you have to switch genres to keep your writing fresh?

How about you?  Do you feel like you're just writing the same thing over and over?  Do you worry that your work is just okay?  Do you think that's good enough or do you want something more from your stories?  Or is it that most of us aren't getting paid and good enough is fine for give-away work? 


pattinase (abbott) said...

I think reading the short stories has negatively impacted my reading novels. I don't have the attention span for novels anymore. It is too easy just to turn to a book of stories instead.
And I also think it has negatively impacted my writing. I will finish it out but after loving it for a long time, I think it was a mistake. Reading should come from desire rather than duty.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

It's interesting what you're saying Patti because I don't actually read that many short stories and the 365 Challenge has introduced me to a bunch of new writers who have novels out there. I'm also reading a lot of stuff I wouldn't normally read. But I find myself looking for short short stories a lot of the time because especially this month, my time has been so limited.

Sandra, on the matter of not getting stale--I worry about that all the time, especially when I'm doing my "Misbegotten" urban fantasy stories. I just love the world so much that it's easy to slide into it. That's why I really enjoy responding to writing challenges because I can't fall back on my go-to ideas.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Well, that's another issue. I spend way too much time looking through the many dozens of books of short stories I have, or looking in anthologies, or online. I wanted to read different kinds of stories--mix up online crime with other genres and do the same in print. This makes finding a story an arduous process nearly every day. And if I read one, I really dislike, I usually read another one.

sandra seamans said...

I agree with Katherine that short stories have lead me to finding authors I've never heard of. I love the 365 but some days it feels like having to write that book report in school :) On the other hand I love finding stories that I can get excited about and share with other readers.

I can understand about having a series to fall back on when writing, Katherine. I've had several over the years, but they scare me because after a while I feel like I'm stuck in that world, so I tend to use them sparingly.

Anonymous-9 said...

Hi Sandra, the turning point came for me the day I took on a pseudonym. My own real name was keeping me from pushing the envelope. I don't think I've ever written the same story twice, although I do see a pattern where "bad" people get killed in my stories with a little more glee than genre dictates.

sandra seamans said...

Being Anonymous would be very freeing. You don't have to worry about what your Aunt Marie thinks about those off-color stories you're writing. And, yep, I have an Aunt Marie who is a fan.

Anonymous-9 said...

Exactly. Now, just about all my friends know it's me, but I also have the "protection" of being published etc. If anybody starts up with, "How in the world can you write that stuff," and waggling the finger, I just point and say, "Well, somebody liked it and paid money for it." End discussion. But when I started out, which is a vulnerable time for writers when well-meaning friends/family/critics can draw blood, I thrived under anonymity. You are lucky Aunt Marie is a fan!