1. Kytaari
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    Kytaari New Member

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    I can't seem to produce short stories

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kytaari, Aug 16, 2012.

    I have over a hundred story ideas, but they're all novels. It seems like my brain just loves really thick plots. I would write any of these novels if I could, but I always run out of steam, and that's why I think writing a short story would be best. The problem is, however, that every time I think of a short story idea it turns into a novel; and then I have no more material that I can naturally work with.

    Are there any hints on focusing myself so I don't complicate my ideas so much? It seems I just love really thick plot-lines, and this tendency of mine is inhibiting me from getting anything done, because I feel I lack the experience to write anything very long just yet.
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I had the exact same problem as you're are having! I have only written about four complete books. I say about because some have
    no ending. I tend to sabotage myself by saying I won't fail, if I don't finish.

    When I joined this site I decided to sit down and write a short story to post, even though I'd never written one. I had been
    tossing the idea around for years - something I could've spun into a book but I held back and focused on a simple timeline - man crash lands
    on planet , man finds creature, creature takes over his life, creature kills man. It's about ten pages long. I was able to write it in a week
    and when it was finished, I was happy with it. Since then I've written over six short stories and counting. And I really feel like it's sharpening
    up my writting and I'm finally developing that thing that always mystified me - my style.

    The best tip I know for keeping a short story short - is to decide on about three or four scenes ( this
    doesn't include backstory or paragraphs with bundles of events to show time passing.)
    But narrow your vision, keep your character load down to a few - three or four and don't go for
    extremely big ideas, keep it fairly easy to follow - even if you have a world inhabited by fairies.
    Best to narrow it to one idea - like a fairy whose had a spell cast on her - looses her wings and
    teams up with a loyal bee to reverse the spell. Simple and to the point.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Do you habitually read short stories? If not, you should. They're very different to novels, and if your reading diet consists of purely novels then how can you hope to get a grasp on the workings and writing of short stories?

    I would do some research, and read a variety of short stories. Modern and classic, across genres, and pay attention to how they work. Look at what makes them different from novels, and how your approach to your ideas differs.
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing short stories is not something everyone can do. If you're having problems finishing a novel, switching to short stories is not always the answer. If you can write a short story, then yes, it can help to make yourself finish something. But if you can't write shorts, you'll just be more frustrated. In this case, I would concentrate on figuring out how to make yourself finish the novels and forget about short stories. (Most times, IMHO, making yourself finish is basically finding the discipline to do so, and there are no 'tricks of the trade' that will do that for you.)
     
  5. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hah! I have fought with a similar problem. I cannot write shorts. I have no problem with the full length novel form but the short just seems to evade me. so I forced myself to write a short story. It came in at about 12 pages and 4,500 words! (Not exactly short)

    Fact is, not everyone can write short stories. And not everyone can write full-length novels. Some people can but most seem to be better acclimated, mentally, to write either short form or long - sort of like some runners are better suited to running sprints while others are built for long distance running.
     
  6. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    It's ok, it really is, if you can't write short stories. Some people are able to do so, others can't. I couldn't write one if my life depended on it. The shortest I can do is a novella, and they're not that short. If you're more acclimated to novels, then, instead of getting stressed about it, just work with novels and have more fun.
     
  7. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    1234
     
  8. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I have exactly the same problem. I have done that with youtube projects of mine and even novels. They always get too big, and i hate it. I'm usually frustrated with most of my projects.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    follow banzai's advice above...
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Science fiction magazines regard short stories as being anywhere up to 7,500 words, usually. The online writing courses I took allowed up to 5,000 words for student short story assignments, and those assignments were deliberately restricted in length to make the work load on the students and the instructors reasonable. So 4,500 words is a pretty standard length for a short story. Sure, it's not flash fiction, but I would certainly not regard a 4,500 word story as long, as short stories go.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    5 k is the upper limit for most magazines and literary journals, so it's best to keep it under that... but always check each venue and go by their submission guidelines re length and all else...
     
  12. writerwannabe13
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    writerwannabe13 Member

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    For the longest time I didn't think I could write a short story. If it does help I kind of thought about sitcom or time period like what could happen to a person in 2 hours of their lives? If that helps?
     
  13. LiterateStar
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    LiterateStar Member

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    I could never write short stories! It was incredibly difficult for me, especially when I was assigned one in English class. Everyone above is right, not everyone can write a short story. However, if you're really determined --- just read short stories! Read, read, and read more. Study the structure. That's what I did, and it made it easier for me. Hope I helped! :love:
     

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