How is Shorter Harder?

As I am waiting (patiently, I hope) for my beta readers to finish reading novel #2 and give me feedback, I have been writing short stories. The first is for the publication that I wrote my first short story for, and received my first rejection from, in which all the stories of the collection start with the first line. That story is due tomorrow.

person holding white paper and typewriter
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I’d originally started writing it a month ago, and I finished it early, but I didn’t like it. In my head, it was boring – too detail oriented, so I put it in my mental trash can. A week ago, though, I was talking to Hillary about it, and she encouraged me to reconsider. Thank goodness she did. I really like it now, especially after I had to tighten it up to get it into the word count requirements. It feels a lot more peppy.

So between writing the first draft of that short story and resurrecting it, I started on a second story. There is a new publication, Aftermath Magazine, that is having a writing contest to get stories for its inaugural edition. While most contests charge entry fees (no thank you!), this one does not. It also gives several different post-apocalyptic futures to choose from as the setting for the story.


As I started to brainstorm the world for my story, I realized this could be a wonderful setting for book #3. That got me going and the words just flowed onto the page.

One thing I’ve discovered is that it is hard to write a complete story in 5000 words. I’m used to using 90,000. I was at the word limit for the second story and nothing had happened yet. Oops! Fortunately I found a plot and I’m almost done with the first draft. I’m glad it’s not due until the end of the August since it’s twice as long as it should be. At least I know any passages I cut can simply go into the book version of the story.

This little break has been good for me. I’m honing my editing skills, and I hope future short story attempts will go easier as I’ve at least partially understood the need to get to the point quicker.

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