Sunday, December 31, 2006

Writing Short Stories

Megan and I occasionally get into a discussion about the differences between writing short stories and novels. She doesn't understand why I wouldn't want to take a character from one place to another--go the distance with them.
But right now I am in the head of a a forty-something guy in an auto-shop in the midwest, worrying about a woman who's getting pounded.
Two weeks ago, I was a neighborhood in 1960s Philly, watching a black man have an affair with a white woman.
Two weeks before that I was a fourteen year old girl who was convinced the man who was having her deliver drugs and take her mother's money was the love of her life.
Before that I was a female-vice president of a corporation who had to insure their new product line would be successful.
Now maybe these people do not have the depth of characters in novels but how can you deny that sitting in a 6 by 9 foot room and going to these places is not pure bliss?

9 comments:

Steve Allan said...

That's one of the problems I have with sticking with the novel - I discover something else (character, situation) that interests me and I don't have the will power to deny writing about it. That's why this damn novel is taking so long to write... well, that and the parenting thing. :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

The parenting thing is certainly a valid reason. And so it the other as far as I'm concerned. That said, remember I have earned less than $1000 from my writing in seven years. Oh, and free tickets to the North American Auto Show and a tee shirt from Thuglit. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The tee shirt especially.

Bryon Quertermous said...

Wow, that's actually pretty impressive Patti. I had my first play produced in 1997 and my first story published in 2002 and so far the T-shirt from Thuglit is the most I've received by way of payment for a story.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, but you were an infant in 1997. And I had taken about four workshops and past forty-five by then.

Maria said...

So is taking four workshops the key, then? Please say yes, because I'm sure not taking a fifth.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Not taking the fifth is the key.

anne frasier said...

i have to write multiple viewpoints or i wouldn't be able to finish a book. i can only stand being in a character's head for so long before i get bored. i think i may have gone to far with my latest manuscript. it has around 12 viewpoints. i didn't realize it until it was done. :D

pattinase (abbott) said...

Balancing 12 must be very difficult, especially remembering the right voice and backstory. It's great that you push yourself. Does your editor urge you to do less? I think I told you that a potential agent advised me to filter everything through one voice. But that may have been because I wasn't convincing.

anne frasier said...

patti, i'm waiting to hear my editor's take on it. yikes. the book really has 4 main characters. the other POV people have really small scenes that don't include the main characters. maybe this is an incredibly sloppy and lazy way to write. i'm going to try to be more aware of it from now on.