The Short Story Challenge: Why Does it Have to Be So Challenging???

I’m doing this instead of actually working on this week’s short story.  Yup.

Why?  It’s scary.  Short stories are all the hard parts (the getting started parts, the planning out parts), all the time.  Plus, I have to watch my length, leave out things that I’d like to explore, all because of space.

And since I’m working on premise and character voice especially, I’m having to work much harder in my writing than usual.  I have to be more mindful of my text, especially dialogue, which I usually like to just let “flow” at high speed, writing the whole conversation very quickly.  The only problem is, that tends to produce fairly generic-ized conversation that doesn’t strictly keep to the characters’ voices.  That’s tough, at least for me.

Also, I’m not accustomed to starting with a premise, and making sure the fiction sticks to it.  I’m used to coming up with ideas, characters, settings, some kind of inspiration, running with it, writing some scenes, then figuring out a plot around them.  I’m not entirely convinced that this is a bad method, nor that I need to abandon it altogether.

However, much like profanity, I’m “giving it up for Lent” regarding this short story challenge.  I’m doing things a different way to learn how to be the master of the fiction I write (if that makes sense), to prove to myself that my prior methods aren’t just laziness or weakness.

So, the desire to make myself a better writer, to prove myself to myself, is driving me on, and fear of failure (and, honestly, of the difficult, possibly painful work ahead) is holding me back, pushing me to find excuses not to write these stories.  Heh, story of my life.  Okay: break’s over …


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