Novels and short stories

So it’s currently oh-dark-early where I live and I spent about an hour tossing and turning before deciding that staying in bed was getting me exactly nowhere. I got out of bed, turned on the computer, and continued work on the new story.

Originally, this was designed to be a short story to submit to an anthology and I was really excited about testing my writer’s skill at something shorter than a novel. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, it turns out that my hobby of long-term planning makes writing short stories rather difficult. My idea for this short story has decided to take over my brain with long-term plot concerns, character development, world-building, and all sorts of other things that indicate a serious attempt for a novel, not a short story.

Looking back on my long history of two decades of writing attempts, I have two short stories from when I was younger. Rereading those short stories is fun, but also a learning experience because even those were entire novels packed into 10-15 pages. They were both more like a synopsis than a short story all by themselves.

Someday, I really would like to be able to write short stories. I guess it’s something to add to my list of goals. I’m also pretty sure that being able to write short stories would do wonders to help me clean up some of my novel writing because I would learn more about things that are truly important in the story and things that the readers may not care about so much. The other problem with a brain like mine that has hobbies that include long-term planning is that I think it’s fun to include tiny details throughout the story that don’t feel important and then do something huge with them later. I have this theory that every huge action starts as a tiny action.

But this whole topic brings up one other point that’s been kind of nagging at the back of my head for a while. One of the other major stories I’m working on is a very complicated mix of just about everything. It’s been voiced by a couple people who have read some of my work that the readers may not be able to catch all the tiny details that turn into huge things. So one of the other things I think I will balance better as I continue moving forward with my writing is how much am I writing for the reader and how much am I writing the story that I want to tell. Yes, some of my novels have some very complicated situations and history, but life itself is complicated. You can see this in your own daily life. There’s very little of our human existence that’s simple and cut and dry. Everything’s connected in some way and I’m not entirely certain that I should work to “dumb down” my stories because there are readers out there who won’t get it. At the same time, I’d like to actually sell my stories and have people genuinely want to read them.

I think this is one situation where it’s not one or the other, but that there is a lot of middle ground I can hang out in. I also believe that working to write more short stories will benefit me as an overall writer in the long run because it will help me make my stories less complicated with nifty endings instead of something that could continue for as long as I can write. It’s all about finding balance as a writer between the stories I want to tell and how to get people interested and to stay interested in my stories.

That’s the real reason I want to be an author. I want to share my stories with others and I want those stories to move people the way the stories move me. It’s just up to me to learn my craft to the best of my ability so that I can share my stories in high quality formats instead of mindless drivel.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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