Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Short Stories vs Novels - IWSG March 2017


The Insecure Writers’ Support Group posts the first Wednesday of the month. It is a  where writers can write about their insecurities without feeling threatened. If you're reading this as a writer and have any insecurities about your writing, join us. Every month we have a new question to answer. 

This month's question is: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out? 


Yes, I have, and yes it did--just not the way I had planned. Why?

I've always loved to read. Short stories are my favorite no matter the genre. Flannery O'Connor and Stephen King are my short-story idols, but I love them all: science fiction, drama, action and adventure, mystery, horror, and yes even romance. I rarely meet a short story I don't like. The problem is, no matter how well-written they don't have the "meat" of a full-length book. 

I tried my hand, or typewriter, with a romance novel in the 1990s. I was a member of Music City Romance Writers and felt inspired. It received many rejections. Following the advice from my rejections, I rewrote the manuscript last year. 

It isn't bad, but it isn't great either. What's the problem? It just isn't me. I recalled that while I was writing it, I got bored with the story. Rewriting it was even worse. The process did one important thing for me. It made me realize I need to stop trying to write something I think might sell (Romance Novels) and get back to writing what I enjoy: short stories. Whether they sell or not, that's what I do.

Have you ever tried to force yourself into a niche in which you don't belong? How did it work out for you?





18 comments:

  1. I haven't tried to force myself into a genre, but I have explored different ones such as science fiction, horror, and historical. I would be horrible at romance. I usually can't stand reading it much less writing it, but there have been exceptions. Good story and characters can overcome a lot.

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  2. True, Tamara. A good story and great characters in any genre captures my interest. I've stopped laboring to the end of books that are just so-so. If it grabs me in the first few pages--I'm thrilled; if it hasn't grabbed me after that second chapter, I'm out of there. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I've written characters I didn't initially connect with. It took some work, but I eventually got there.

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    1. I usually start with a character and let them write my story. (I know, that's weird.) I tried to write a romance story after my divorce many years ago, but I kept killing the hero so I had to change genres. ;-)

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  4. Yes, you always must write what you love. If you write to market, the work suffers.

    Short stories can sell. With the internet, there are more markets than ever for short stories. And you can always compile several into a book.

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    1. The market has changed and that change has helped writers like me, but it is still difficult to sell to mass markets. I love to write short stories so I decided to self-publish. People who like to read them have found me. I won't get rich or famous, but that's okay. It is a much less stressful course and one I'm not sorry I'm taking.

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  5. It's a great talent to write a successful short story that makes an impact. You should definitely play to your own strengths. Like Liz says, there are lots of avenues for publication these days.

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    1. It is definitely a better market for writers like me, but it's still very difficult to sell to publishers. I decided to self-publish and that is working out for me. Like I told Liz, I won't get rich and famous but I'm enjoying the freedom of writing what I like and publishing at my own pace. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. You could write lots of short stories, or a bunch of short stories to a theme, and make a book out of them. It worked for Stephen King. :)

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    1. I have thought about compiling my short stories into book. Maybe I'll give it a try some day. Right now I'm taking it one story at a time. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I'm not sure if I know where I belong! I wanted to write YA, but YA first didn't have a market and then became something dark and disturbing. So I did MG...and then ended up writing younger books! I have fun doing it, just not sure that I chose it as much as it chose me.

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    1. I love all your books. The Piper Morgan series is great and so are your MG books. You are so multi-talented you belong wherever you want to be! You've proven that you succeed in everything you tackle. I'm impressed by your success and so very proud of you.

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  8. Wise woman! Write what you enjoy reading and writing. If not, then it really shows in the writing, as you discovered. I write what I would want to read and it's worked so far.

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    1. So true, Alex. Things went so much smoother when I quit trying to please others by writing to a certain spec and turned my attention to writing what I like to read. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. So true about much in life, just don't go where you aren't led. It is a metaphor to all of us who have lived a few years. Life has a way of leading us all.

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    1. Yes it does, Ann. And over the years I've found that when I balked at going where I was lead, things didn't turn out well. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I have to write what speaks to me. I usually don't read short stories because I love the meatier novels; but your post reminds me that I should dip into short stories more. Good luck with your writing, Valerie!

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    1. I tried to write what I thought people wanted to read, but I eventually learned that writing what speaks to you is the only way to write anything worth reading. Thank you for stopping by!

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