by Allison Pang
The short (ha ha) answer to that question is not me. Like many of my Word-Whore brethren, the short story is not my friend.
Can I write one? Yes. But it definitely takes a different mind set. When you have a limited amount of space to convey the story, every word has to count. And that probably sounds bad - I mean, every word should count in anything you write...but when you've got a nice blanket of 100k words to sprawl out in, it's pretty easy to slow things down a bit and take your time getting to the destination. Sort of like taking a country drive. The end destination may be the same, but you get to enjoy the journey a bit more.
Or something like that. I'm not great with analogies.
Hemingway supposedly wrote a short story in 6 words. I say supposedly, because there are varying degrees of belief as to whether he actually did pen it:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
And whether he wrote it or not, it's a marvelous bit of prose, simply because it leaves so much up to the reader to determine.
Most of us aren't Hemingway though - and writing short stories requires the word count to be a bit more robust than that. (Except for you flash fiction writers - you people are crazy. I wish I could come up with something awesome in a paragraph or less, but I've failed just about every time I've tried.)
So where does that leave me? I've got a short story coming out in an upcoming UF anthology - Carniepunk will be out in August 2013. But as much as I wanted to write the particular story that was in it, I am NOT good at staying inside a word count. I like room to roam. So I actually rewrote the thing about 7 times over the span of a month, simply because I was so frustrated. I kept changing tense. PoV. Major plot points.
Maybe it was just the pressure of the thing. I don't know.
My other "professional" attempt is actually the short comic story "Comet" coming out in an upcoming issue of Womanthology: Space. I haven't seen the art for it yet, so to be honest I'm really not too sure how well I managed to squeeze a retelling of The Little Mermaid (genderbent and with robots in the future) into 6 pages. Doubly hard for me, because 1) I'm lousy at short stories and 2) totally different media. It's hard to convey everything I wanted to say in the space, especially given that my original idea probably could have been a full on novella, at least.
But I think maybe I sometimes find short stories unsatisfying. (Reading them, anyway). Usually they end just as I'm getting excited about what's going on. It's a tad frustrating.
That being said, I would like to see about increasing my short story output - I do think they can be a great way for an author to help build up a readership and increase writing craft.
Right after I finish up this epic fantasy. ;-)