So life kind of interrupted any sort of mojo I intended for this week. A minor plumbing disaster followed by special order parts from Providence. Lame but fixed now. I still intend to do the music and writing thing this weekend or Monday but in the meantime, I’ve had short stories on the mind.
So my other short story I had out there in limbo got a big ol’ thumbs down and frankly that didn’t surprise me. “Non Player Character” has had a very hit or miss response. As you can probably guess from the title, it involves gaming. Gamers who have read it got what was going on and loved it. Non gamers had no idea what was going on and half still didn’t see it even after I tipped off what was happening. It’s a very weird experimental piece that doesn’t really use paragraphs… that sounds odder than it really is. I originally wrote it because I wanted an idea specifically thought up of to be short. I naturally write long so there was the challenge of it and it double upped its challenge quotient and became a way to play with narrative form. It splintered off from a novel idea I have sitting in my notebook.
And that’s where I think my problem is.
“Non Player Character” is a prologue and/or backstory for a novel. “Nobility by Night” was episodic in nature even when it was an idea for a short film prior to being a short story. My Shakespeare side story and the not-so-short dungeon escape… the common thread of all my short stories is that there is always more to them. I think that may be the downfall I’ve got with them. I can never quite contain a story to short, even when there aren’t too many words on the page, the story wants more than I give it. I was trying to think of a new story to work on while the others were out in limbo and nothing I thought of was small enough which led to my thought train I just described.
Trying to get into a short story kind of mood, I’ve been trying to read more of them. And… I’m just not feeling them. I don’t want to run around bashing people because it’s not like they’re written badly, I’m just not the right audience for it I guess. I read one the other day that was a doctor telling a patient he had an incurable in-the-future disease and gasp he only had a hundred years left to live. I finished it and had a meh all rolled up with a “Someone likes this kind of thing but I dunno them.” If that’s what people want, someone will give it to them but it sure won’t be me. I’m not into writing thousand word mediocre puns.
So I just worked on my novel. Which is a good thing, lets me ramble on as I like. It makes me think that the way I tell stories just isn’t suited for small things. I always ask Then what? or What’s next? or How did that happen? It’s at once uncomfortable and relieving to think that short stories just aren’t right for me. I don’t want to limit myself and I want to push my writing. Staying in a safe zone isn’t any way to get better but where’s the line that says “Eh, you might want to stay back there.” It’s like when I’m playing on my xbox, I want a good balance of challenge to success. I’m not going to give up on short stories but I think I need to stick to more of a “As long as it needs to be” mentality.