Jarsto's Writing Blog

June 24, 2006

The Mystery Of The Short Story

I wrote a short story the other day, and I'm still kind of shocked. Now it's not that unusual for me to write the number of words, a mere 1400 or so, within a single day. My personal best for words in a single day currently stands at more than 10,000. I just can't write short stories. I have six finished first drafts for novels and two finished (first draft) short stories, including the new one.

As you may have surmised from the above novels are pretty much my natural length. I'm fine with this and routinely ignore any writing advice that claims "you should work on short stories first". I'm sure that's worked for some authors, but if I concentrate on short stories first I'll be sitting here this time next year with two short stories to show for my trouble, if I'm very lucky. I'm sure that concentrating on short stories has worked for many people, but I've pretty much decided I won't be one of them.

My new experience, a story in a day, is nearly enough to make me reconsider that. Nearly but not quite. Because, well, I cheated. The short story I wrote could double as a bad prologue for Singer, the guilty bit of writing I mentioned in my last blog-post. More to the point it pulls the horrible trick of telling events set before the time of the novel from the viewpoint of a character who won't be in the novel, he'll be dead by then. But all my world-building etc carried over from the novel. Ironically it's a new perspective on the scene, dreamed years ago, that sparked the ideas for the novel. I think I'll call it a short prequel...