After writing three full-length MS I am in a committed relationship with the short story. I’m not going to get a ring, but it’s serious and I’m blissfully happy right now. I do know there will be a time when I marry another full length beast but at the moment I’m learning something new and fascinating.
I’m rolling about in the hay with all kinds of zappy, snappy ideas, stretching them and moulding them to see what I can make (and how many metaphors and themes I can get away with smearing over them).
It’s a form I am not widely read in. (If you’ve read a Peter Carey short story why go out for hamburgers?) And I’m still figuring out what you can say – what the point needs to be.
My older shorts are generally parts of a larger whole that suddenly stand alone, and that’s how they evolved. But the short stories I’m writing now are beginning life as short stories too.
They often start out as an observation – a point I want to make, or a world I want to explore. But once I’ve drafted that crucial scene or situation I need to build a frame around it with protagonist, antagonist, character arc, so a reader can engage. That’s the part I’m still getting my head around.
What are the ‘musts’ with the short story form?