I am finishing the last two tales for my short story collection and while I work on them I am learning many things.
First and foremost: The more I write the more I hate writing
But also: The more I write, the more I love writing.
With every story, every new published work, the bar gets raised. I raise it for myself, my readers raise it, I feel that my publisher expects more. This is all in my head (probably), I know that. But I can’t avoid it.
Every time I sit down to write I have to remember all of the tricks of the trade I keep picking up. The easy ones are second nature now. Avoid cliches, let the characters speak for themselves, don’t over use the word “that”. It doesn’t keep the rougher ones from haunting me as I construct sentences into stories.
Showing instead of telling sounds fucking easy, but it’s not. There are different degrees of showing and telling. Saying, “She walked into the room” is clearly a horribly wonderful example of an annoying sentence that only tells you what is happening. But what about the more complex ones?
Sometimes I’m not sure what I’m writing. Sometimes I can’t keep my words from rhyming. (I suffer from Dr. Suess disease. I often speak in rhyme and therefore can’t keep from writing it despite my hatred of most poetry).
Having more than one story to work on at a time offers me the sane insanity I crave. It helps me to have something to switch to when I get stuck on one work, but at the same time they all take longer to write thus creating a remaining sense of purgatory.
Take the two I am seesawing between right now. One is a highly emotional piece that plasters a grin on my face and makes me feel as if I am creating something better than anything I’ve ever written. It is a joy to work on. But I’m writing this one left handed which takes more time and gives me headaches because my brain switches often.
Yesterday I woke up left handed and couldn’t get enough of this tale.
The day before was another story. I was as right handed a could be and worked on the other piece.
The other is hell. I hate writing it. Not because I dislike the story, but because it requires more detail and planning than most I’ve written. I originally envisioned it to be about 5k words, I’m beyond that now with no end in sight. It’s campier voice offers a great contrast to the other story, but I struggle to move it forward.
I have now what may be considered the perfect balance. I have a story I am in love with, something I will be proud to share once it’s done. (And for that reason it will probably be my least liked work haha That’s how it always goes with me) And I also have a story I hate writing, I feel iffy about, and worry that I’m wasting ink. (No story is ever a waste of ink, and based on previous successes, people will probably love it because that’s just how my life always goes.)
I’m now contemplating starting a new story as well because the idea factory never quits and I can’t just sit on things forever. I’m going to need to start working on book 3 of my Embracing Entropy series soon too. It’s simmering and nearly ready to come out.
This is why I hate short stories. Sometimes they take longer to write than anything else because every word counts for more. In a novel you can take your time to build. Not too much, but there is more room for length. I do prefer to write novellas and novels.
The more I write, the more I hate short stories and love the more in depth books that allow me to stay with my characters longer. But the value of writing smaller pieces is unarguable. (I have had more success with short stories so far) They keep me in check. Make me hone my skills more. And love and hate are really flip sides of the same coin so everything I hate, I love and everything I love, I hate.