Thursday, August 13, 2015

The joy of the short story

I discovered a wonderful vacation destination. It's called the world of the short story. Of course, novels are the foundation of my literary efforts, but my journeys into short stories provide nice stopping places. They are filled with different characters and situations, all varied and clearly defined in their own little spaces.

I enjoy the definition of the short story by author Joe Lansdale, a prolific writer in many areas who describes the short story as a novel with all the unnecessary parts taken out. I never fully understood his point until I started writing my own short stories. Each story has its own life, but with fewer complications. I lead protagonists and antagonists in novels through raging rivers and deep canyons of life, and I detail each point of their story. The short story still allows for those raging rivers and deep canyons, but I present problems in a more concise manner. That satisfies the journalist in me.

One part of short story writing I love is being able to detail many protagonists in a number of settings. I have written about a middle-aged woman whose past suddenly reappears; a young man with a series of tough times but with resilient dreams; a young woman doing what seems to be a meaningless routine that is neither meaningless nor routine; and an old man who injects himself into a troubled conversation of two younger people, and they all learn lessons.have other stories running around inside my brain, and I wait for the right moment to bring them to life.

I still have writing sessions each day on my novels, but I take these enriching visits to this other land. I have found that both sides feed the other. That is the kind of win-win situation I love to encounter.