word count · work in progress · Writing

Thoughts On The Perfect Short Story

I feel good. I wrote a thousand words yesterday. 400 of that was for a short story, though, so I am not 1000 words ahead in the novel in progress. 😦

The short story is odd. It is really more in the nature of exploring an idea I have for a novel. I might write the novel, I might not. I don’t know right now. But if I do, it won’t be until the current novel in progress is done. I think the idea is simple enough to express in 5000 words. It’s probably not something that will ever make it into the novel version, I am pretty sure about that.

The trouble with the short story is putting in enough details to make the world real, but not so many the story is nothing but description (the world is interesting enough that I could easily write 5000 words of sheer description!). The description needs to mean something, needs to make clear just why the whole setting is odd and move the story forward at the same time.

I think that is more difficult in a short story. I’ve read short stories where the world is crystal clear, the plot moves quickly, the story is emotional enough to tug at my heart-strings and yet the ending is just perfect. That’s what I want. It’s very, very difficult to achieve.

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4 thoughts on “Thoughts On The Perfect Short Story

  1. Description, unfortunately, is not something short stories usually have in great detail. I highly suggest you take a look at my absolute favorite flash fiction magazine, http://10flash.wordpress.com/ to get ideas for how to use description to the max while still staying in word count. ^^ Obviously you’ll have more elbow room than flash, but I don’t have a favorite short story market to recommend. Sorry.

    1. Yeah, they don’t, which makes the little description that does appear all the more important.

      Hey, thanks for the link. I didn’t know there were any flash story magazines.

  2. I use short stories for the same purpose, to see if there’s enough for a novel or not. And the end is the hardest part for me. It’s very difficult to find the right end!

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