Procrastination is the mother of invention… um, source of all evil?
Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.
Whatever Procrastination is, I do know that I would never get anything done if it weren’t for that last minute!
Lately, I’ve been busy plotting away and typing my fingers numb, trying to write my first novel for NaNoWriMo, an achievement that seems more out of reach every day that passes; not because I’m not writing, but rather because I only started on the 16th, so I have a mere 2 weeks to write my novel – a tall order by anyone’s standards I presume. But I’ll talk more about NaNoWriMo in another post.
So, never one to be entirely sensible, yesterday, instead of diligently pushing my novel forward, I thought I would take a bit of a break and read some short stories online. I’ve been reading a book of Hemingway short stories and I really wanted something to contrast it with (and yes, I do realize the ridiculousness of contrasting Hemingway with modern flash fiction written by amateurs.) The Short Story is not of format that I read much of… or any of really.
Well it turns out that I enjoy reading the format, and the shorter the better. Flash fiction with tight little sentences and a small driving plots and glimpses of interesting characters and places.
So there I was, minding my own business and reading my way through a dozen or so short stories and didn’t I come across one particular yarn that sent my muses into a tizzy! I was compelled to dive into a new idea, a simple thought in a new format.
In less than 2 hours I had a decent draft of a new short story completed, about 900 words long. I was flushed with accomplishment and excited to show someone. But I decided to put it out of my mind, at least for a night.
This morning I sat down and gave it a critical reading. It needed tweaks. There was no sense of place or character, but the plot was great and driving. So I tightened up the ending a little and added a little more depth to both the character and the location throughout the story – bringing the word count up to 1250 words.
I already knew I wanted to submit it to aescifi.ca, a publisher of Canadian SciFi, so, once I had finished my editing, off it went.
I then spent 2 more hours reading more short stories and especially the writer biographies to try and find out where else everyone was publishing. I now have about 12 online and print mags and podcasts to look into and began plotting out my next short story.
On the down side, I realized after all this work that I didn’t put much of a bio on my submission to AE, I had meant to go back and write something once I had everything in order and forgot.
Why Short Stories?
As a reader, short stories offer peaks behind the curtain. Short glimpses into somebody’s reality. You really get a sense for what’s going on inside of someones head when you read their short works of fiction, something that is largely lost in a full length novel I believe.
But as a writer, the short story offers just as much – something I wasn’t expecting. You can take any random idea, any errant thought, and by bearing down you can have a passable story in an hour, maybe two. After a little more time on edits, you have a decent little story, a capsule for your idea and talent. It’s like instant gratification for authors. It’s the Twitter of Fiction.
I don’t know if my story will be accepted (Dear http://aescifi.ca editors, please accept my story – it rocks. Promise!) but it doesn’t really matter. I loved writing it, and really think this is the start of something good.
Of course, I’m dying to share the story, and have someone else tell me what they think and now I just have to wait it out.
I’m pretty pumped after everything is said and done though and I’m ready to dig into my NaNoWriMo novel now that it’s 9PM…
hrm, I only have to hit 4000 words tonight – NP right?