Another Op’nin, Another Show

Which is a title befitting both the video and the fact that I’ve mentally begun a new story.

And so, my little boy’s life has gone back to normal. What a wonderful blessing that whole thing was. Precious. I love my Ezra more than [insert every valuable thing]. I wrote him a letter for the future, for some moment in his life when he’s not doing a hundred fun and exciting things, for when he’s not sure what he wants to do. To remind him God has blessed him, that he himself is a blessing and all the ordinary reasons his father and I are so proud of him. Gushgushgush.

And then because of the above and the fact that I am a memory hoarder or as I like to call it, a historian, I ran away and made the following for my little lovebug. (And before you ask, yes, my husband’s eyes are naturally red. Or fixing them makes him look like a vampire to me. So there.)

And so I’m inclined to make a projection about 2014, which is totally unnecessary and impossible to do but shut up. I am – less than two months on – dubbing it the year of the short story. I mean, of me writing them by the bowlful. This might be because I wrote Jigsaw at the end of last year, then Caroline, and am heading into #3 and am loving it.

I have a rather adolescent response to word count, or at least I did. I never understood people who wrote to a word count or complained about it or worried about it. Of course, when you’re writing toward publication, word count matters and there are guidelines for certain formats for which word count is almost a deciding factor. Or at least is taken into consideration. For myself, I’m also a data hoarder which is completely normal and fulfilling and makes me all swoony sometimes, which like I said is normal – so I document my word count as I’m writing. Moreso because I want to know exactly where I was at any given time when reminiscing about a particular project. When I came up with what, etc. It’s also why I have a hard time not saving every iteration of a project. I want to keep all the pieces. Anyway, I was going somewhere with that rebellious/defiant approach to word count…

Without inflating the inherent importance of the word count, I do have to admit what I love about the varying lengths of short stories, for me. What I find is accomplished in the varying lengths and how many words that tends to be for me. (Always for me. I have no idea what it is for anyone else.) And I’m totally basing this only on stories I have written to this point.

Novellas (I’m personally capping at 30k) I love writing because they’re closer studies of a particular, sort of uninterrupted storyline and character arc. There’s room for the world as well, to a point. With Keepsake, it came together perfectly. With Imogen-Who-Has-No-Name (please do not misunderstand that as being the actual title), what became difficult for a moment was the world getting too grand. Too wide a view of the political system, too intricate a ruling class and family trees. That for me isn’t fit for a novella. It’s why I kept stopping and eventually moved on to something else until I could get back to the snapshot I’d intended to capture.

Long short stories (I’m putting that at around 7-10k) are wonderful because in that space of words, I feel able to close in on a character and how the world she inhabits impacts her life.

Short stories (I’d say 5k – which obviously leaves a 2k no man’s land between short stories and long short stories) are like any mini dessert. Something you can pop into your mouth but it reminds you of a fuller dish. For me, this is the length of story where you introduce a character and only the world as it impacts her life at this moment. This is the difference between Jigsaw and Caroline. The former has space to investigate what she will do from now on, the latter only what she will do today.

And then, of course, I’ll next write a short story that is 3k and deals with a whole family and make myself a liar. (Right. All the rires.)

Thoughts? Condemnations?


6 thoughts on “Another Op’nin, Another Show

  1. Hope you don’t mind, but I put a link to this page on our porgy & bess page on facebook. wanted to share this with the rest of the cast (lemuel wade loved it, btw)


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