Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 13, 2012

A New Adventure: A Novelist in Short Story Land

If you read this blog, you know that I’m a novelist. I think long and I like to use a lot of words. (My husband is nodding his head vigorously.) I never thought short stories would work for me. I had written some while getting my Masters’ degree, but they had been a struggle, so I shied away from them once I got out of school.

Recently, at the behest of Jonathan Maberry, I tried my hand at them again. And I like doing them! There are a lot of “scholarly” reasons I’m enjoying them (see my Tuesday post on The Author Chronicles for details), but I think the main reason I like them is that they are…short.

Don’t get me wrong, writing short is not easy. Short stories are an art form unto themselves, and the lessons you learn as a novel writer don’t always translate. But I have found the instant gratification (getting from first draft to polished in days rather than months—or years) very satisfying.

My writing friend Donna Galanti also said short stories keep her writing fresh. She’s right—it lets us appease that urge to follow the new, shiny idea (don’t look so innocent—you know what I’m talking about) without distracting us from our novel-length project for too long.

So, I’m using some of my newly found writing time to learn the craft of short stories. I have one that is ready to send out, with two more in the final stages of polishing. I’m taking some deep breaths and readying myself to send them out in the world.

The funny thing is, I am not so nervous about them being rejected as I am about the query process itself. It’s different than for novels, so I feel a bit out of my depth. Right now I feel like it’s my first day on the job and I’m nodding my head like I understand when I really have no clue. (Come on, you’ve all done it.)

But as my friend Keith Strunk would say, “fake it until you make it.” Because I know these “first day” jitters will pass with time and experience. Will my stories find homes? I don’t know, but I’m ready to find out.

It’s a new adventure! What new adventures are you embarking on?

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