Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My First WotF Rejection

Got my notice from WotF today that I didn't win--a little funny, since this morning I was thinking about the contest and how I need to write more short stories so I can keep entering (since I presumed I wouldn't place), and I told myself, "Well, my official rejection will boost my motivation to work on those."

Har har.

I've been reading some of my WotF collections on and off between novels.* I need to enter again, but short story ideas are difficult for me, and I don't want to get distracted from my current book. HOWEVER, WotF is a great opportunity to break in, so I must press on. My one rule for myself is this: Don't work on your short story until your novel word count for the day is finished, you slacker you.

I know a few of you specialize in short stories--where do you get your ideas, and how do you keep them, well, short?

On the brighter side, the contest director recommended three things I should do to keep my writing up, and I'm already doing two of them, so win for me. :D

Look out WotF, you haven't seen the last of me!

*Both Shades of Milk and Honey and Eon: Dragoneye Reborn were really good. Put the sequel to the latter on hold at le library. Apparently Mary Robinette Kowal is writing a sequel to SoMaH, which surprises me, since the book ended quite definitely, in my opinion. Oh well, she writes well and actually replies to my tweets, so I'll check it out when it's published. :D

1 comment:

  1. Well, I waited to see if any "short stories only" people would post what they do, but I write about half-and-half these days, so...I guess I somewhat qualify?

    Short stories to me are like novels but much smaller in scope. You need an intro, rising action, climax, etc. You need a full plot, but you have fewer scenes, characters, fleshed-out intricacies, and so on to work with.

    When I first started writing short stories I wrote them like scenes from a novel, and that's not what they are at all. They're self-contained stories, just smaller, punchier, more direct than novels. The "in late, out early" mantra applies especially to short fiction.

    The advice to read a lot of short fiction applies here, too. Pacing and tone of short stories are quite different than novels, and it's nice to get a feel for that on a deeper level rather than a purely intellectual one.

    But really, if you don't like short fiction and they don't call to you to write them, there's really no point in doing it? Short stories and novels, I've found, take two distinctly different skill sets and have different audiences. I'm also finding that it's obvious when I read short fiction from a novelist and it's obvious when I read novels from someone who normally sticks to short fiction. Not that this is a bad thing, but which skill set they have developed is pretty apparent.
    Some notes from Eric James Stone -

    How Much Is Too Much?
    one or two interrelated stories only
    cut out anything not needed for the story - receptionists, subplots, unnecessary verbage, essentialist dialog only
    often what you think is essential really isn't
    "in late, out early" mantra for scenes; if the reader knows what will/has happened, why write it?