My apologies, friends, for my absence yesterday. And for my lack of an "R" entry - but if it counts for anything, I was on a Road trip to Atlanta, so at least I was doing something R-oriented, right?
I'm nearing the end of the first draft of my novel, and I've been thinking about what I'm going to do during the month or so it's sitting in a drawer, breathing and resting and aging accordingly. I do have a few short story ideas rolling around in my head; one particular brainstorm involves a rental van and a haunted DVD player, which made me laugh maniacally for about fifteen minutes when I thought of it.
I'm looking forward to trying my hand at some new short stories; it'll be a nice change from the looooooooong project of the novel. But I'm wondering if I'll be able to get back into composing short pieces as easily as I once did. I've mentioned before on my blog how once I began writing the novel I realized I've been a long-distance writer all this time. Writing a book gives me the chance to tell the reader everything, I mean everything I want to about back story, character histories, quirks and tiny details. I can meditate upon anything I want, take as long as I need to explain it, and not have to worry that I'm getting too wordy.
Short stories are hard already because they're a single vital punch to the artistic senses. In 7,500 words or less I have to make my reader wholly believe something and experience it vividly - so much so that they'll want to read it again. Everything is stripped down and left with its bare bones gleaming. Nuances are placed to the side in favor of slick prose and snappy dialogue. Concepts must be introduced and expounded upon in paragraphs, not pages.
But on the other hand, short stories meet my need for (nearly) instant gratification. Dependent on how long the project is, I can finish the first draft in a matter of hours or days - not months or years, like a novel. Revision is so much less of a hassle. Continuity issues are much easier to spot and fix. And if you get to the end of twelve pages and decide the story is a real stinker, it's not a heartbreak - it's a minor setback.
It'll be interesting to return to the world of short story composition next month. I'm looking forward to comparing and contrasting novel writing and short writing when the time comes. What about you? Which medium do you prefer to write in?