Then I looked over the short stories I’ve written over the past ten months and was not so impressed. In fact, I saw nothing of merit there. It was disappointing, because I had hoped to focus on writing better short stories in 2019, but that obviously didn't happen. Nor has it any of the other times I've made this decision - and how many times has that been over the nearly 20 years that I've been writing? A lot, and every time I come back to this same place of looking at my journal and going “ugh!”
You can’t be good at everything. The question is, when do I come to the point of admitting that I suck at writing short stories? I’m a novelist. I’ve always known that. The problem is, I want to be more, but I can seem to nail that down much beyond occasional articles and blogs.
Is this a problem? Likely not. In fact, perhaps it’s time for me to admit that short stories are going to be an “every now and then” thing, and get ok with it. I’ve done it before. I decided a year ago to focus my non-fiction work exclusively on The Roost, and perhaps other occasional blogs or articles, and that’s been a tremendous relief. I was finally able to write Domino, and focus on setting it up to lead into another book series. If I’m going to be writing book series, I do need to focus exclusively on fiction in that arena. Perhaps I need to make similar decisions with short stories.
Do I let them go, or find an area of focus for them? That’s where the hard decision comes in. One piece of feedback that I consistently get on Writing.com is that my stories hint at being part of something bigger, and they want to see more development in them. No doubt, the novelist in me is bleeding through in these shorter works, as it’s difficult for me to “contain” my work. What do I do? Do I find an area, like I did with non-fiction, and say I’ll do exclusively mystery short stories? Or do I throw up my hands and say “forget it, I’m a novelist, and a novelist is what I will be!”
Both scenarios work, and honestly I lean toward the first option of writing mystery short stories and being more expansive in my novels with scifi and mixed genres. The problem is lack of mystery ideas. My mind seems to be shifting toward developing the Domino world more. My interests are definitely in the sphere of scifi these days. And the heart of my muse is definitely more future focused than present tense.
You have to be true to yourself, so I suppose time will tell this tale. I can tell you the decision I’ve made today. As for what decision I actually live from here – I guess we’ll see. Perhaps it’s as simple as depending on where I am at the time, and right now, I’m in the scifi world.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great week.