Daily Archives: November 12, 2015

Here Lies An Old Friend

dead short story

There he is, lying in his little coffin. Not much of a turnout, either. You would think that he would have had more friends considering how long he’s been around. Hard to believe he’s gone. He had such an important influence on literature. Some of the most famous writers were known for their short stories.

But is he really dead, as some people seem to think? Could he just be in a coma and will soon come out of it to find himself in a dark lonely grave? Ewww…what a gruesome thought. I think I read a short story about that once.

I like short stories. I enjoy reading them and writing them. But, considering how poorly the sales are on anthologies, I must be in the minority. I can’t help finding it interesting that in these days of short attention spans people don’t read short stories. They can’t even take the time to spell out words when they text. And everyone is running around always busy, always in a hurry. You’d think we’d be a society of short story readers.

Really, though, he’s not dead. Just not as healthy as he once was. There are still magazines that publish short stories. Thing is, though, if you’re trying to make money as a writer then short stories are not going to pay the mortgage. Maybe, if you have a couple of them published they might pay the electric bill. If you don’t have a really big house. Or a pool. And you don’t run the air-conditioning much. And make sure you turn the lights out when you leave a room.

I like writing them, though. In some ways, more than writing novels. I like getting to the point, quickly. Not having to write filler or fluff to lengthen the word count. And it’s a challenge to write characters that the reader can identify with and care about in such a short time. I think I’m really a short story writer at heart and not a novelist.

I’ve taken that love of short story writing and adapted it to penning my next novel. In last week’s blog I wrote about jumping ahead in your book and not writing it in sequence. I was only talking about small scenes but now I’ve gone and finished an entire chapter that happens later in the book. And I wrote it in a different folder just so I could separate the writing from the rest of the novel. It’s purely psychological. I treated it a though I was writing a short story using my characters but not worrying about what needed to happen in the following chapters. I like it. This might help me move along a bit quicker. Like I said, it’s purely psychological. But, hey, whatever works to keep things moving!

So, maybe that’s not him up there, in the cartoon. Just somebody with the same name. Hopefully he’s alive and well and sitting quietly, somewhere, planning his come-back.