You have been working at the literary coalface for months. Your latest draft novel has taken far longer than you expected.
At times working on your draft novel has felt more like going to war than embarking on a wonderful journey of creative discovery.
You know far too much about your characters and after spending an unhealthy amount of time together, you know a break from them could not come sooner.
Weary and suffering from novel-writing fatigue you put your latest draft away and then dive into another draft. The draft novel production line must keep going. *Exhausted face*
But things don’t feel right.
Your writing mojo has left the building. You feel sluggish and writer friends comment on how you appear to be lacking your creative spark.
A magical person on Twitter tweets about how energised they now feel after working on a short story.
You stare at the word, ‘energised’ and wonder whether you will ever feel like that again.
The thought of writing something short and fresh gives you a little rush of creative excitement.
Word length fantasies you didn’t know you possessed start influencing your thoughts; 5,000 words feels too heavy, 1,000 feels too light, but a 3,000 word short story brings an instant smile to your face.
Having a brief but intense relationship with just one or two characters in a short story sends a lovely warm sensation shooting up your spine. They will not have the heavy emotional baggage your novel characters are carrying.
The freedom a short story brings makes you feel a little giddy. You can write a short story from ANY genre, experiment and more importantly let yourself go.
A short story makes you feel like a writer again and gives you that wonderful feeling of being able to create and FINISH something. We often lose this when going through the drafting process of a novel.
Perfecting a small story is good training for mastering a bigger piece like a novel.
Working on a short story will help you fine tune your prose. Writing a short story is like your own author training session.
Short stories can lead to other things. These short and snappy pieces can be quite demanding once written and can urge you to turn them into a novella or even a novel. I have written a blog post on this. Click here.
From a short story new and exciting characters can emerge and beg you to take them into your next novel.
As Neil Gaiman says,
‘short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.’
With a smile on your face you decide to take a break from novel writing and start a short story.
Say hello to feeling energised again!