Write...or Die Trying

I used to work in a factory. Now I work in an office. Either way, my writing was dying. So now I must: Write...or Die Trying.


What a Novel Idea

I was following a thread of discussion on a writer-related website the other day. One of the members suggested a short story contest where a group of people could get together and write a short story in a limited timeframe. The idea being an exercise in actually writing, instead of just talking or thinking about it.

What struck me was the lack of writers familiar with the short story. I don't mean a particular writer's story--I mean the actual device of the short story. Most of the posts said something to the effect that the writer hadn't written that many short stories and hadn't even read that many. Most thought it would be a good exercise to "do something new."

I'm not knocking the novel. I aspire to write my own novel one day. But the short story is such a powerful tool for the writer, it would be foolish of us not to recognize it. Some of the best stories (not literature) I've read were relayed through the device of the short story.

Maybe the lack of interest is the perception that no one reads short stories. For a lot people, that may be true. But there are a growing number of us who are finding the short story a popular alternative to investing time we may not have into reading a novel. Short stories can convey your story to readers that are too busy to otherwise read you. Short stories give you a lot of options for publishing, since the needs of publishers for short fiction is much greater than that for novels. Of course short stories don't pay as well, but if you're planning on getting J.K. Rowling rich by being a writer, then prepare yourself for disappointment--not that I think you can't achieve it, mind you, just be prepared anyway.

Short stories are difficult to write. They require immense focus and clarity on the part of the author. If you get one little thing wrong in a piece of short fiction, you could ruin the whole thing. But you can also write one in a day; and if you get it published and only get $350 out of it, isn't that considered a Good Day's Work?

What a novel idea!


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