Monday, November 8, 2010

Why I Can't Write Short Stories

I was going to write today about why I gave up on NaNoWriMo but then I came up with a more interesting topic:

Why I can't write short stories.

I'm taking a writing workshop class at my school and I love it. We did a bunch of assignments on creating a storyline and our final assignment was to write a scene or chapter. I decided to write about this scene that had come to me in a dream a while ago. I plan on turning it into a book someday (it was actually going to be my NaNo novel) but there was this one scene that I could NOT get out of my head. So I went ahead and wrote it.

It was pretty easy to write - I've had the first part outlined in my head forever and the rest just came to me. I was really pleased with the first page and indifferent about the rest.

I had to read it to the teacher to get revision comments as part of the assignment.

When I finished, she said "this is your ROUGH draft?! If you would've turned this in, I would've given you full credit!" She went on for about 10 minutes about how I only had to make minor changes - italicize a few words and clarify one paragraph but other than that, I shouldn't change anything because it was awesome as it was.

I was totally beaming. It had renewed my confidence in my writing, which was something I needed after my meh journalism article.

But then I reread it to finish up the revisions.

And I hated it.

Because there's so much more to the characters than what's in that scene and that girl just shows up, and OHMYGOD what about that other character?! She can't just like him because she has a BOYFRIEND. And noo, I can't stop here because it GETS SO MUCH BETTER. Except, oh crap, I'm already above my word count limit.

Now, maybe this is a good thing in this specific example because it leaves me excited to write the book. But it happens with EVERY short story I attempt to write. I cannot get a story down to just 2,000 words and be happy with it. It's just not possible. My ideas are never that small.

What about you?