Thursday, 1 April 2010

Short and Sweet

I love short stories.

The good ones can intrigue, shock and move, all before running the risk of boring you.

They don't pretend to have award winning premises, sometimes they barely boast at all. Mostly they creep up on you, charm their way into your head, then deliver a sucker punch more sucinct than any novel. Therin lies the beauty of the short story, the underdog that thrives on misjudgement, that hopes you set your expectations low so that it can catch you offguard.

I love short stories.

I write a lot of them.

More often than not, a simple idea may occur to me that I feel may be best suited bashed out in an afternoon. A short sharp savage shock that can be ingested in a lunch break. It may be because to have a book of length, the idea is saying 'Look at me, I'm worth a great deal of your time.' A short story, however, asks nothing of you and will either impress or depress in the time it takes for you to think 'Can I bothered to finish this?'

Short stories are providing me a stop gap at this juncture in my writing career, if I may use the word 'career.'

A way of saying 'So what if the second novella hasn't yet gained a momentum? You are writing! That's all Mr Hank Moody of Californication ever asked for. Be happy you have any ideas at all!'

This is not to say my idea for my second book has 'no legs.' It's just, well, how do I put this -

- I don't want to screw it up.

I have a high bull shit detector, at least I like to think I have. When I start to write, seriously, it's all or nothing.

As with a band, the second piece of art is more important than the first. If the first is a success and the second isn't, were you a fluke? If the first idea is sublime and the second merely average, are you a one hit wonder? Should you explore the themes introduced in your first book further? Or divert from them completely? Are you flakey with no drive? Or a one trick pony?

All good questions.

So what are the answers?

Here's what I know so far of my second novella (compared to my first book) :

It will be darker AND funnier
It will be far more complex
The characterisations will be far more involving and less subtle
The violence will be more intense and shocking
There will again be two MAIN characters
It will utilise (in my opinion) a very original premise
It will take far bloody longer to write!!!!

I will not stop writing short stories. I can promise that.

Like a composer that hears more than one thread of a song in his head, I have ideas at this time that no one story can serve.

I have to get them out.

It would be stupid not to, no?


  1. Yes, by all means, let them out! I enjoyed "Swan Song", and look forward to what ever you transfer from brain to "paper". Good luck.

  2. Thanks! Don't think I could stop putting out short stories if I tried. I keep thinking about novel size ideas and little bite sized beauties keep popping into my head!

  3. I actually attempted two short stories this year with my Release characters and loved it -- so nice to do something on a shorter scale. I nominated you for an award, Jev --