So I have three novels in progress which, according to my usually very honest writer's group, are actually pretty good and have some potential (or at least that's what they tell me). Those novels have been sitting at 16,600 words, 30,600 words, and 25,217 words respectively. Why aren't they done? Because I've selected to focus my effort on short story writing instead. The question is: why?
My writer's group asks me what happened to the novels. I say that they are in work but I wanted to get some shorter pieces done first. Okay, it's not the best idea to change gears mid-stream but I do it all the time. Partially because I think I'm obsessive compulsive (I do love lists and I count everything after all). I need completion and I fear failure. Well, what writer doesn't, right? But I think my competing need/fear compels me to gravitate towards the shorter works.
1A.) Writing a short story makes me feel complete. It's done. I can check it off the to-do list (I adore doing that!), then I can add it to my completed list (yay), and then I can submit it to my writer's group, make their suggested changes, and get it ready for submission. It's so packaged and perfect. Unlike the novel that needs more and more from me, the short story just wants to be born and then run off on its own little legs like a baby colt. My novel is much more of a baby human in need of feeding, care, and daily changes.;-)
1B.) I work long days and when I get home, I only have a truncated amount of time to write. I spend that hour or two on the novel (as I should be doing) and I have 100 paths down which to trod. I spend it on the short story and I've produced a finished work. This makes me feel like the missed TV shows and the shortened sleep hours are all worth it.
2.) The characters in my novels need development. The characters in my short stories need me to be briefer. They call out, "hurry up and finish me." There novel cousins just make more wheels turn, while whining, "that's only the surface of my mixed up emotions. Dig deeper. Fill another page." :-)
3.) My short story characters are so much fun. They don't have the background or stamina to be a novel character but they glow in their short life span in the pages of my short stories.
Now that I have relished the feeling of completion that my short stories give me, it's time I move back to the novels. They've been patient for a very long time. Wish me - and them - good luck.