At last count (yesterday evening), I have eight short stories in various stages of completion and starting points for two longer works (future novels, mayhap?). I’ve been striving to write at least a couple of hundred words a day on _something_, if for no other reason than to keep my writing sharp. I’ve also found that I tend to think about my stories more, even if only in the back of my mind while working on other things, if I work on them on a regular basis. It usually surprises where I get inspiration from for the next bit in each story when I have them constantly tumbling around in my brain.

I’ve also found that when I get a new idea for a story, just writing a quick statement about it doesn’t always help me remember the idea well enough. I’ve been stymied by my own well-intended notes to myself on more than one occasion. I’ll read a note like ‘they don’t see me’ and then wonder what in the heck I was thinking about, what world I was envisioning, when I wrote that note. So, I have taken to actually taking time to write out the scene playing in my head in a fair amount of detail, just so I can come back it later, read it, and go, “Oh, yeah! I remember that, and I even remember where I want to go with it!” As a result this means I am collecting more and more unfinished short stories in my files, which is fine with me since that gives me plenty of options for stories to work on. Some have more complete mental outlines than others, so those are usually the ones I work on first. The rest sit and stew a bit and as I come up with new snippets to continue the story, I add those.

I can’t wait to get the next one finished, though. My goal is to complete three short stories within the next three months. Seems like a pretty attainable goal.

Just out of curiosity, for you writers out there, anything less than 7,500 words is considered a short story. What do you consider to be an appropriate and adequate length for a good, well-developed short story? And approximately how many words do you write per session?

4 thoughts on “Scraps”

  1. It’s good that you’ve figured out a way to keep those ideas flowing fresh through you mind. I’m not a real writer but for the most part I’m not sure that you can put a limit or a maximum on the amount you write per session, I found that when I write the amount always depends on how well my ideas are flowing and if they are taking me where I want them to go.

    I’m interested to see what someone more experianced and focused has to say on the matter.

  2. Yeah, everyday is different, to be sure, but I have noticed that with my own writing, I tend to write a number of words that is somewhere in the neighborhood of the previous writing session, unless I’m deliberately aiming for a certain number of words in a marathon run.

    I’m just wondering where all the other writers went. Usually I get quite a few comments on a topic like this. :)

  3. I don’t have any experiance writing seriously developed short stories. Christina’s Fiction project limited the words to 1000 per tale which was nice and challenging to get a good story written in so litte a time. I found I wrote all those in one sitting and then went back for the editing later just for some space to think about it.

    I think I frightened all the other writers away. ;)

  4. Yeah, that’s actually a pretty good policy. I’ve seen a number of book editors recommend that writers take their finished story and set it aside for a couple of weeks, then come back to it, read it, and making and revisions and corrections with a fresh perspective. I think the same applies to short stories, that it’s good to set them aside for a while once completed.

    I sometimes will write a single short story in one sitting, though usually I just write the parts that immediately and easily come into my head. The parts that are still fuzzy I leave for later, and I have found that most of them will make themselves very clear given enough time. It’s actually pretty cool, and it means that I understand what other writers mean when they say that the story essentially writes itself.

Have anything to add to the conversation?