Friday, February 4, 2011
SHORT AND SWEET
by Anne Mohr
I like writing short stories for several reasons. One is that they don’t overwhelm me. An idea for a story comes to mind, usually in the form of a, “what if,” or “I saw that happen,” or “I experienced this one time,” and a story blooms from there. My writing process is usually that of what has come to be known as, pantser, which is still not a word and I still do not like the sound of the term. Since the stories are shorter, I can often get the words down without making notes and with a minimal amount of research. This means that I don’t have to devote a lot of time to fulfill any set goal.
Another good thing about writing short stories is that it can afford a minimal amount of struggle to make it work. If an idea completely dead ends, I simply trash it and start a new story. I have found that when writing longer fiction, it’s less easy to give up on a storyline or repair it when you’ve devoted months to the writing and find that, let’s say, your characters are starting to bore you.
There are those whose entire writing career is dedicated to this one genre and those that just dabble. For me, I like to write these stories whenever an idea comes to mind. It’s a break from the big projects I’m working on. Since I have no other writing obligations, such as a deadline, submitting a short story keeps me in the loop. I complete the work, submit it and see what happens. I don’t dwell on a response; I go back to work on something else.
Finally, there is nothing like receiving word from an editor that your work is being considered for publication. The satisfaction of reading a contract, signing it and sending it off is immeasurable. It can provide motivation to propel you to the next short story or give you renewed vigor to finish the larger project(s) you are working on. ♥
Anne Mohr has been a member of RWA/NYC since 1993. She lives in Southern California, and is a real estate agent in both California and New Jersey. She writes as Jacqueline Stewart, Helen St. James and Max St. James, and is published in short fiction (magazines.) At the forefront of several writing projects, she is currently writing a screenplay.