Paring down

Expanding horizons and doing things I’m not entirely comfortable with has lead me to a previously little-explored format: The Short Story.

Before, during, and after school, I considered myself a novelist. It is the great hubris of writers that we can consider ourselves novelists long before we have anything resembling a novel. I never considered myself a short-story writer. I think in grand concepts and long-term ideas. I sink into a story and re-surface ten or more pages later.

This was a trick when I was in college and told to do things like write a story 500 words long. I did it, and between my fellow workshoppers, my teacher, and I, we managed to make it a palatable story. But I still didn’t consider it my place.

But the cornerstone of freelance income is the shorter piece, be it articles or short stories. I can write articles (and I’m not half bad at it according to my college newspaper editor), but I have so far worked best when I was given an idea and just had to pursue it. I was often handed names and phone numbers, as well. I was a spoiled reporter, working for a weekly, and doing features. Besides, I had the best, most awesomest editor ever (I love you, Becky!).

Now I am revisiting the short format and learning the art of paring down. It’s a delicate process, and one that I’m not practiced at (you should see my basement), but one that I am confident I can master.

With a few writing prompts and a few hours time, I can write a short-ish story. With another few weeks work, it might even be worth sending out.

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