Writing short stories is hard

What am I feeling insecure about this month?  What we all fear. That others will not like our arrangement of words, as we do.

 Although I am feeling a trifle jet lagged after the A-Z challenge, it is not that which has prompted this, I had had some very nice comments.  No, it was in fact some good news which prompted this blog.

 When I began to write seriously, four years or so ago, I joined a local writing class, became hooked.  I was told in the class, and in everything I read about the subject, that short story writing was HARD.  I shied away.  Not for this old lady, if it was hard.  I was having trouble enough at the beginning to string coherent sentences (I have a big problem with a few basics such as spelling, grammar,  punctuation and …well you get the picture:)  Short stories were just things we played around with in class, you know the one, have a prompt write for 10 minutes,  then read it out if you dare.  I enjoyed it, I have to say –always been gabby, me.

 I was trying to get the hang of short stories during a summer break when Ellen’s Tale emerged; it was meant to be a short story, not the first in a series:(  they had warned me short story writing is HARD!

 I carried on with the prompts.  Wrote a short fairy tale of her life, for a friend of mine, on the occasion of her birthday.  Wrote more of the prompts, enlarged on a few at home.  Allowed imagination free reign.  Wrote some very strange ‘mental ones’ as my friend from forever/editor called them. She did not like my series, but for some reason did like the short stories – showed them to her friends.  Said write some more, publish them.

 My friend from forever/editor is the reason I am in print. She has slaved hard to knock this Dyspraxic writer into shape over the years,  it seemed right togive in.  Keep your editors sweet seems to be a good rule:) My friends, of course all bought them in the print version, but I have to confess I did not push them, because I was scared frankly that I would be laughed off the circuit.  They were not proper short stories.  Short stories are HARD and I had found them easy. So my friend from forever/editor was obviously wrong.  I split them up into smaller Vols. for the e-book version, but still didn’t really push them.

 I still enjoyed writing them mind, they were my therapy when I was bogged down with the novels, and because I had no faith in them, I could allow myself to experiment.  They didn’t always have a plot:( they didn’t always have hero/heroine:(. Sometimes they didn’t really have a conclusion:(     I was having fun messing around with words basically.

 My friends liked them, but we all know, don’t we, that friends and family are suspect, because they may not be telling how it is.  I tried a couple of flash fictions in a couple of groups I had joined and received some nice comments.  I began to look at my strange stories and look around at others.  I found others were writing strange stories, experimenting with form and playing around with words.  Maybe.  Just maybe friend from forever/editor wasn’t just being a friend.

 Then the week that the A-Z challenge came slithering to a halt I received an unexpected review for the first Vol of Patchwork of Perspectives.  I had barely met her – Prudence MacLeod a fellow ROW8’er but new to me.  She liked the little stories.  What? Someone liked them enough to review the book, without a request from me.  To say I was flabbergasted is to be rather British about it:)  I went to bed that night wondering if they all had it wrong about it being HARD, maybe I could write short stories.

 Maybe I should have more faith in myself, more faith in my friends.

 I have often read Indie books that I have liked but I am slow/bad at putting up reviews.  Maybe the authors suffer from the same insecurities as myself.  I am going to try harder to read Indies and put in a good word, if I enjoy them. Maybe I can send someone to bed happy. Build up another’s  confidence.  Give them a little more faith in themselves.

6 thoughts on “Writing short stories is hard

  1. Great post, Alberta. I myself find I’m a bit stuck between novels, and short stories might be just the ticket. Thanks for the inspiration and post. Have a great week.

  2. Karen Rought says:

    I find shorts to be much easier to write than novels. The complexity isn’t usually there, which is what trips me up the most. I like writing strange ones too. It’s a lot more fun that way! I’ve been trying hard to read indies and put a good word in as well. Congrats on your review and good luck with all of your writing!

  3. I write and read a lot of short stories, and yes, I agree writing them is blooming hard work! I have trouble with endings lol.

    I try to review any indie books I read, as, like you say, the authors really need our reviews to get noticed by other readers.

    Great post hon xx

  4. I had stories laying around for years that I’d never published; a few that had been sent to a magazine or two. When the Kindle came along, I though, “Hey, why not give this a try.” The process of going from occasional writer of short stories to independent author/publisher/promoter has been fun, and isn’t over yet. One of my current projects is to write up my experiences so that others can get their stories off the shelf and into print.

    Thanks for a lovely post, Alberta, and best wishes for a great week.


    p.s. Looked for the Triberr button to give you some +Karma, but I don’t see it on your blog yet!

  5. Glynis Smy says:

    I often enjoy writing a short story, but don’t do anything with them. I had a lovely email tonight from an author (new to me). She thanked me for my book review. Apparently it went free on Kindle and the ‘nasties’ crept out of their corner and gave horrid 1* reviews. Now I didn’t give a 5, but I gave a 4. It was entertaining, and enjoyable. I went back and read some of the reviews, and to be honest they were ridiculous. I now feel that if I enjoyed just a little bit of a book, I am going to find something positive to write as a review. As you say, Alberta, it might just make someone happy.

    • alberta says:

      um. . . it was such a pleasure for me from such a short review – I must do better – its a bit like lurking around the posts- I try and comment or like now knowing how much it means in terms of confidence and validation

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