Time challenges: My short fiction conundrum

The journal continues, and I’m surprised at how much pent up reflection, brainstorming, story ideas and more it’s generated for me. I journaled (I don’t care, it’s a verb to me) for years and never felt like I got much out of it. Maybe I should take a look back at those stacks of notebooks and reassess.

This morning I sat down and started thinking about short stories. I’ve never focused too much on them. I enjoy reading them but I usually defer to reading full-length novels rather than shorts, novelettes or novellas. And I feel pretty much the same about writing them. I could focus my energy on writing short stories, but I’m always afraid it will distract me from novel writing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are a lot of novelists who aren’t very good at or flat out just don’t write shorts.

On the other hand, I look back at this blog, and it’s been going in this incarnation for pushing two years now. I’ve been talking a lot about writing, the writing business and issues related to my genre. The only problem is that I don’t have anything to share with people and it occurs to me that generating some short fiction would be a quicker way to allow people to get familiar with my work.

It’s not for lack of ideas either, I’ve got a collection of story ideas that I’ve been cultivating for a long time now. I always thought they were novel ideas but being able to pick what stories can support a novel is a discussion for another time.

In the interest of starting to get some exposure around my work, I’m reconsidering my reticence to go short.  More importantly though, I’m coming at it with a definite need to become more well rounded as a writer. I need to be able to identify for myself the short vs. long boundary and be satisfied with both. Regarding time concerns, I may have to accept that this will delay the editing process on my first novel and the writing of the second. There are, unfortunately, only so many hours in the day.

Are you a traditional novelist considering getting into shorts? Are you someone who is or has been in my situation? Leave me a comment!

Morning Cuppa – 05/13/13 – Short fiction! Giger bars! Dan Brown!


  • How people find the time to write both short and long form fiction is a mystery to me. With working full time I have just enough time to keep my writing and editing on life support. I’m always afraid that any time I spend on short fiction would just directly cannibalize my novel writing time. But, there are huge benefits to writing short form. It gets people familiar with your writing, builds an audience and allows you to experiment in genres you may otherwise not have. Joanna Penn has a guest post with Doug Lance all about the benefits of writing short fiction.
  • Mike Stackpole tweeted an old story from io9 about Giger barsku-xlarge, as in HR Giger, famed artist and probably best known as the creator of the alien from Alien. In another life, I was married to someone who was really into his work and that’s where I first learned about the Giger Bar. As you can see the decor is fairly dark and not a little bit on the horror/macabre side. But still, good fun and a one of a kind place to visit.
    Looks like the only two left are in Switzerland now, so make sure those passports are up to date!
  • Naturally, with a new Dan Brown book coming out, the critics are salivating in anticipation of a chance to eviscerate it. This article from the UK’s Telegraph is no exception (although because it was written a bit tongue in cheek I did find myself chuckling at it). In general, I really enjoy Dan Brown’s stories. Yes, the writing is at times cretinous but the story is fun and why I’ll happily throw money at him, probably for as long as he publishes.