I previously posted this on my own blog, but I wanted to post it on here because I feel it touches on some important issues.
So, I am finishing my last short story for Narrative Writing. It has been a grand adventure and I have learned so much. Our “textbook” for this class is called The Art of the Short Story compiled by Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn. The book contains examples of short stories from authors throughout literature. After each story is a one to two page blurb about some aspect of writing called Author’s Perspective In the very back are these Gioia and Gwynn’s views on The Elements of Short Fiction which includes Plot, Characterization, Points of View, Setting, Theme, and Style. They also discuss Writing About Fiction and lastly they have compiled a section on The types of Literary Criticism. First of all, The reason I am talking about this is because this book really gets into the details what makes a short story. My second reason is that many people feel that short story writing is so simple, it’s a short story.
However, I know two people in particular who write novels (just for fun) and writing a short story is torture because the approach is so different than a novel because the short story is astronomically shorter than the novel. In a novel, a person can focus on the story and plot because essentially a novel almost has a limitless length, but with a short story I feel that characterization is the key. Because the story is so short, in order to get a good view of your character you need to have this strong characterization.
This has been my struggle with short stories, not because I write novels (I’ve started quite a few but never finished them), but because my strength is the emotion and mood of the story not in the characterization. My use of this element has improved but it still needs a lot of refining and tuning. One of the things I love about writing is that there is always room for improvement. I may write a story I feel is good, and editors, friends, and critics, can show me how to make it better. It teaches you to not settle but to keep striving not for perfection (no one is perfect) but to strive to keep learning, to keep fine tuning, and it teaches the writer to accept criticism. I know that that through my university creative writing group I was able to accept criticism and learn from it. Yes, it’s hard to accept criticism of your writing. It’s special to you, however, these criticisms can be such a blessing. Yes sometimes they are hard to hear, personally I would rather be told the truth than lied to, but, not everyone is like that.
Okay so I know I have gone all over the place and my title of ramblings fits this quite well, but, this what was on my mind at the moment so I hope it isn’t too disconnected to understand.
Until next time.