I’m on a short story kick at the moment. The reason for this is twofold: to get back into writing again (I always seem to be trying to figure out ways to do this) and to have more finished product.
That latter reason might be a little dodgy, as it could be read as me wanted to get to the end of something; and I suppose there’s something in that. However, the real driver is that when I had a think back about what first got me into writing and what I most enjoyed about writing when I was a child was because it was something I could write relatively quickly and be able to either read myself in one sitting, or hand to someone else to do the same. Having something short and a complete story is, in my mind at least, pretty desirable at the moment.
Of course, this does lead to its own problems as for the past 20-30 years I’ve been working on and off (mostly off) long form novels and a big part of my workload was outlining, plotting and creation of character sketches and the like. I was able to build a world for these people to inhabit within the confines of the overarching plot line for the book. With a short story from 10-30 pages, that was immediately gone.
Getting my mind into a space where I had to tell a complete story in short form seemed like it meant I couldn’t let anything breathe. I tell you, it was alarming.
Then I found a way around it. You might call it a cheat, but I like to think of it more as being creative.
So, the short stories will all be part of a much larger universe and while being stand alone tales, this will allow for some of the characters to flex and grow. It also provides a similar flexibility for storylines; I’ve plotted out and started to seed little bits here and there within the ones that have been outlined or written which should pay off down the line. Not necessarily cliffhangers or plot points left dangling, more foreshadowing.
Oh, and while I’ve mentioned universe a lot, its actually set in a town.