I love the excuse New Year gives me to make over-ambitious plans. One of these is to work out how to write a decent short story.
You’d think it shouldn’t be too different from writing a novel, but in many ways it’s harder- less forgiving as a medium, anyway. Within a few thousand words, I need to simultaneously create interesting characters and develop a satisfying plot.
Michelle, a friend from a writing group, inspires me. Over two years, I read two short stories aloud, when I thought they were ready for submission. She wrote a fresh story every two weeks. She found an idea and a couple of hours, and produced something. And the more she did that, the better her stories became- better than my edited stuff.
The most helpful book I read in 2015 was Hilary Rettig’s Seven Secrets of the Prolific. She talks of accepting we’re not usually presentient. We don’t know whether something will work or not. But as a rule, those who are prepared to invest time and energy to create, regardless of possible failure, are more successful overall than those who are risk-adverse.
So my other writing goal is to ditch my pride and get better at writing first drafts, without stopping to edit every paragraph. Put things down and give creativity a chance to kick in, before my right brain tells me it’s all wrong and I better give up trying.