One of my discussion groups posed the question, how do you go from writing short stories to writing novels? I know one of my friends is struggling with that right now. He has had numerous flash fiction pieces picked up, so much so that a publisher ask him to pitch them a novel idea. The problem? He can’t seem to tackle the novel. I find this interesting because I have the exact opposite problem. As I stated in an earlier post, I can write the long story no problem. In fact, sometimes publishers have told me that the word count is too high. That of course was before I entered the fantasy genre. I loved when I found publishers who began stating that large word counts did not frighten them. In a fantasy workshop, one person suggested fantasy was about the creation of worlds. This takes words, my friends, and a lot of them.
With this in mind, I wrote my latest short story. Before, I would have been pressured to present a beginning, middle, and end. I would have tortured myself with the morals and character development. This is daunting. The more I thought, the more complex the story became. And, of course, the more complex the story became the more it sounded like a textbook biography rather than a riveting story in effort to reach a small word count.
The other issue that has always troubled me with short stories is that they seem to be the place to show off. Literary devices are strongly encouraged and the fluff of language is a necessity. I used to shy away from this, but have felt rejuvenated after this year of learning and reading. I still have a long way to go to reach any position to brag about my description power, but I have seen enough improvement to think I can stand the challenge. I only hope the magazine I am submitting the story to will agree.