A Novel Conundrum.

I will not be posting a RoW80 update today; there is simply nothing very interesting to report. Instead, I have found myself in the midst of a novel conundrum.

You see, I am a novelist deep within my heart and soul. The stories I like to tell tend to be great sweeping epics, more often than not, and I’ve only felt partially successful in my endeavors to create short fiction pieces. I’m still a little astonished by the fact that I was able to put together enough short works from the past decade to make enough for a small collection, and those who have read some of those stories can tell you that many of them have the feel of something that could be developed into something longer.

And here I sit, vowing the produce a new short story every week.

This wasn’t so difficult when I knew I had a stock-pile of previously written stories that I could type up and post in between cold spells. Now that all of those stories and whatever else came out of my attempts to have a new story every week have all been posted and are patiently waiting being turned into a book. And the pressure is on to either brush up those deemed unworthy for Bowlful of Bunnies or create some entirely new stories for the next collection (tentatively titled Platterful of Puppies)…or, if I’m lucky, publication by a journal for a change.

But, as I set out to write up some new stories, I’m running into one big problem. It isn’t the problem of ideas. Not at all. Since finishing “A Song for the Underworld,” I’ve started three…count ’em, three…different short story attempts. The issue? All three of them have let it be known that they’re not going to be finished nearly in time for my to type it up, edit it, and get it posted next Sunday. Either it’s turning out to be a more complex story that needs a few weeks or it’s decided to become a novel. Either way, bigger stories, longer books. I am a novelist, and short pieces are a real challenge for me. Thankfully, I like the challenge, and this morning I started something else that has kindly promised to remain a short story and not ask to be extended further.

…Of course, this short story is a little vignette involving the characters in one of my novels. So, technically, it’s still a part of something much bigger than the story itself.

If you’re a writer reading this, do you find yourself more of a short story writer, or a novelist? Do you find one comes more naturally to you than the other? Do you just embrace it and go with the creative flow, or do you try to challenge yourself with tackling more of the difficult one? I guess, when in doubt, the good thing about being a novelist is that the broader scope of things allows you to also put together small little short stories to accompany it when you’re in a pinch.


  1. Interesting 🙂 I understand what you mean, completely. When I first started writing, I dove into writing a novel straight the way (ah, young, foolish me!), and I guess through that respect I was inclined to writing novels, I wanted to be a novelist. Again, it was my foolish mindset that underestimated the power of short stories, and it’s only been within the last year that I’ve actually truly started to write short stories, and by my surprise, I absolutely love them.

    So now, I sort of like to float around in the middle, it depends on my mood. In short stories I focus on very specific incidents to portray very specific emotions, but I understand how easily they can inspire an idea for a longer story.

    Nice post 🙂

    ~ JLT

    • Thanks, JLT! Every so often, the short story fairy is kind and blesses me with such an inspiration, but, yeah, more often than not, it’s going to either be a more complex short story than I had anticipated or a novel. But that’s okay. Novels just require more patience.

  2. Hi,
    There’s certainly a different skill involved in short story writing, and you have to make every word count. I’m wondering if I’m more suited to the longer form as I have several short stories that need extensive editing to trim down. One of my main problem’s has p been getting something finished before the next idea comes along, and I have a huge backlog of work to prove it!

    • Ohhhh, I have that problem, too, Darren! I’m lucky to have a really spastic mind that can juggle several projects fairly well…but you’re right, finishing them sometimes just seems out of reach! If I didn’t give myself deadlines, I’m not sure I’d ever finish anything at all…

  3. My short stories tend to turn into longer stories as I write them. I struggle to keep with it, keeping it small. That said, I’ve never tried a run at writing a few short stories.

  4. I decided to try serious writing a few years ago, with a NaNoWriMo novel. Was fun, and a nice sense of accomplishment, so did another. Then I found myself bogged down in editing, and always explaining to people that yes, I was a writer, no, nothing to show them.
    A few months ago I ‘discovered’ Flash Fiction, and have done a couple of dozen to far. I do tend to crank them out at the last minute, but they are fun, and get me out there online, and friends and family read and enjoy them. Some helpful validation that I am in fact a writer.
    Most could do with some polishing up, and maybe published as a collection. Some will lead to longer stories, maybe a novel.

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