By Daisy Bard
I’ve started writing short stories recently. I’m aiming for a collection. I know this may sound flippant as many writers struggle and edit for a long time before delivering their beloved page-baby to the public/publishing house/blog, but mine must be finished by mid-September. A premature birth, if you will. This may mean they’re less good than they would be given more time (here’s where the baby metaphor ceases to be relevant) but I am excited to put my all into them until the last possible minute. Here are the main challenges I’ve found in that process so far:
1. FIND ENDING: my short stories when I first think of them are like vignettes, so I’ve challenged myself to give them more of a structure – they can’t just be a scene. Is the desire of the protagonist achieved? Do we learn anything in the process? In short: how does everything get tied up in the end?
2. WRITE BETTER: right now there are inevitable glitches and stumbles. I’m only at the first draft stage after all. Cliches and redundancies still abound, and ideas aren’t delivered in the neatest way. I’m working on this by reading some great short stories by the likes of J G Ballard, Chinua Achebe, Angela Carter and Roald Dahl, and trying to learn the trade informally with a mix of research, trial and myriad errors.
3. LOOSEN IT UP: I tend towards the anal/neurotic, so I’m trying to bash that instinct down and get loosey goosey with some of these ideas. I may whack in some poetry or sci fi, or do a story in Spanish. Or a list like this one. Why? Because.