Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 26, 2011

Comfort Zoning Out

I admire people who can write short stories well. You’d think that as a writer I wouldn’t be so wowed by people who can write a good short story, but I am. I’m also a little jealous, because the short story is not an easy form for me.

I have written short stories, but none of them have lived up to the best short stories I have read: the ones that make you see a piece of life or human behavior in a completely new way, or that turn a situation on its head so that you think about things you never thought about before, or that simply leave you haunted and unable to get the story out of your head for days – or years.

My comfort zone is writing long. I’m a novelist at heart. But every once in a while I think I should hone my short story skills. I know it would help my long writing and in the market today short stories are a great way to help build an audience online. So lately I have been considering returning to the form and giving it some more elbow grease and education.

It’s hard to stretch beyond your boundaries and try something new in any area of your life, and writing is no different. Learning a new skill set or refining a little-used one takes time and perseverance. But recently a colleague challenged me to write a story using a genre I wasn’t very familiar with. At first I thought I wouldn’t try it. But then I decided to take the challenge and I have found that I am having a great deal of fun doing it!

So maybe now is the time to return to the short story and try to master it. I feel a little like I always do on my first day at a new job—wondering if I actually have the skill to do the job, and if I can learn everything I need to learn to do well. Since I have never met a job I didn’t master, I know I can meet the challenge of the short story writing and triumph.

What writing challenges have you faced and mastered?

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Responses

  1. This genre may be the solution to your lack of time issues. Of course, I know nothing about serious writing: writing a short story may be as hard as a novel, but since there are fewer words, and of necessity, fewer plot lines, maybe it might be easier.

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    • A really good short story is very hard to craft, but usually it does take less time than a novel simply because it is shorter! My problem is that I have not yet reached the experience and education level to write really good short stories. They are technically sound, but I always feel there is something lacking. I need to work on the craft with people who are expert in it!

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  2. Hi, Kerry,

    Traditionally, I’ve been a news/informational writer as well as an essay writer for my writing business. Delving into fiction has been quite a stretch for me as well as a learning experience. Fiction is a new animal entirely, whether it be short story or novel length writing.

    You’ve seen some of my work at our critique group, so you know the new information I’m learning to make the transition. It’s surely not an easy one!

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    • Rich – Having seen your stuff, I can say that you must be a quick study, because your work is good quality fun! Kerry

      Like


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