Working on a Longer Short Story

Last week I challenged you to work on a longer short story. I’m going to spend 2012 working on writing stories shorter than anything I’ve written before–under 2, 500 words–but there’s a short story that I wrote in the summer which I think will be better if I don’t try to restrict its length. I’m working on a full rewrite of it now and considering extending the plot.

A longer short story in this context is between 10, 000 and 15, 000 words. The word count allows you to cover a bit more ground without going into a complete novel. With the rise of ebooks, works of this length are becoming more and more viable. For me, whose short stories generally cover the span of a few days, aiming for this kind of a word count allows me to write these stories without restricting them.

The story I’m working on right now, Birth of a Vampire, is currently sitting around 3500 words. I’ve got three days and three nights left to get through, and I expect it to be a little bit less than 10, 000. In order to do this story justice, I can’t give myself a strict word limit. Always remember that it’s more important to follow the story to an end you’re satisfied with than to meet a certain word count. If you leave out something vital or you feel like it would be more effective if you made it longer, then do it. Making sure that you feel your story is the best it can be is the only way to make your story resonate with editors.

Originally I intended this to be the first in a series of short stories trailing a couple of characters through Europe over a few hundred years. I’m debating extending the current story to include the two characters escaping to Edinburgh, the capitol of Scotland, but I think I like the story as it is. That’s fine. I don’t have to force it to be longer. There is room for stories of every length, especially in a world where epublishing is on the rise.

This week I plan to follow the story to its current end. It’s very different from what it used to look like, but it follows the same basic storyline. I hope you can finish your longer short story by next week as well, because I’ll be talking about editing it right before I dive into the process of editing novels. This year, it’s all about making my work the best it can be and getting my name out there.

Welcome to 2012 everyone. Let’s use this year to explore new writing territory together.

2 thoughts on “Working on a Longer Short Story

  • Happy New Year and good luck to you as well!

    What a coincidence, I’ve been working on short stories too, although mine are more flash fiction – very short (up to 2k). I wouldn’t know how to write longer short stories. How do you do it?

  • Hi Melange,

    I think after the brutal novel writing pace of November, short stories are a great thing.

    For me, personally, the challenge is writing shorter fiction. Even my short stories tend to encompass a few days and an entirely new world, so they tend to be longer naturally. I’m not very good at brevity.

    I’m going to be trying to write shorter fiction, of the length you write, this year. My theory is that by cutting a story down to just a key moment or a couple of key moments, I’ll be able to write a good flash fiction story. It probably works in reverse too. You just need a slightly larger and more complex idea.

    Thanks for stopping by,

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