So recently I've found myself in a bit of an in-between place with writing. I've sent out the most recent version of True Sight to a handful of people, and I'm in various stages of getting critiques back. Soon it will be time to do a little more revision there... soon but not quite. In the meantime I've been trying to juggle some other writing projects.
The priority is my next novel, currently titled Olympus Gate. I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm really enjoying this project. I look forward to every moment of this story, not just the big exciting moments. So O.G. is off to a good start.
But I've been working on some other things as well. Short stories specifically. I've heard so many different conflicting views on whether or not it is necessary to publish a few short stories before having any success with a novel. At this point the best I can deduce is 1) that short stories are great practice (which I have definitely found to be true—that was focus of the first year of the Story Center critique group), and 2) that if I have a good short story idea I should write it and make the most of it, but if I'm just ambivalent I shouldn't try too hard to make something out of nothing.
Well, I haven't had any new short story ideas lately, but I have decided to go back and rewrite three of my best short stories from previous years. All three were interesting concepts, but technically they needed work. So far I've completed first drafts of two of the rewrites. The third is a little more daunting, but I'm still determined.
The tough thing about short stories is that they are really so different from novels. I have the hardest time coming up with ideas that will fit nicely into a short story; most of the ideas I find exciting are those with plots that are too complex for a few thousand words. About the only short stories I'm able to write are those with some sort of shock value.
So, to my consternation, most of my best short stories probably fall into the horror category. I say consternation because I'm really not a big fan of most horror; it affects me so strongly. I start imagining all manner of things staring at my back and if I turn my head too quickly I see figures of tragic little girls standing in the doorway. Why would I want to add to a genre that so thoroughly creeps me out? And yet, this is where I've had the most success.
Really though, it must be possible for me to come up with other kinds of short stories. They do exist.
Here's today's question then: what short stories have you read and liked? What do you enjoy reading about in a short story?