Writing Short Fiction
by Craig Gabrysch
Have my latest piece of short fiction about 99% completed, and I’ve been thinking about how agonizing these little shorts can be to write.
If you want to just bang out short stories, it’s pretty easy as far as number of words on the page. I mean 4000-6000 words is about 2-3 days of work, then a few days of editing. The problem is in the editing. Because you have to make a story as punchy and chock full of importance as possible, you start to torture yourself over every word. Eventually, though, you get into the flow of writing in general, and the need to be as specific as possible the first go round becomes instinctive and ingrained in your writing style.
I think that’s writing in general, though. It’s a craft like any other art form, and, after the first 104,050,302,950 words, you’re almost prescient in regards to whether a word is right or a sentence will just lay dead on the page.
Currently, I’m working on serialized fiction for The Jacob Smith Stories, which makes for a little bit more of a pain, though. You want every story to connect through a common thread, but you want each to be succinct and encapsulate its own plot arch. It’s like TV writing for prose.
Another bit of a pain? I included Jacob Smith’s first adventure, “Hillbilly Hell,” in PULP!, which Twit recently put on select. That means I can’t release it for free, as I did with the first story, “A Knight Templar in Lincoln County.” My current story is, therefore, kind of floating out there in a void, with no prior story to connect it to. It’s like the pilot episode of your show never being released by the networks (or out of sequence). And we all know how well that worked.