Friday, June 01, 2007

writing short

So, at my new employer, my job is to write short stories. I mean, seriously short: 250 words is long. You'd think that this would make them easier, and it does, in some ways - the whole thing can be done from start to finish in a few days. But writing short is *hard*. The issue I was writing about today has at least three or four sides to it and also has to be made entertaining and readable and all that stuff. Cramming that much into 120 words is quite a job. It feels a little like writing poetry, because every word has to count.

I've interviewed four people already for this story already and really ought to talk to at least one more. Know how many are going to get quoted? Zero. I often do manage to quote someone, because it's nice to have the voice and color, but in this one I am not going to hand over 8-10 of my precious words to identify someone when I can say what they're going to say faster.

Often when people hear I'm writing short stories for my employer they try to console me, like, aw, that's ok, someday you'll get to write long stories. No no no. Short stories are hard! And I like them! The people who write long stories get into the publication twice a year if they're producing super fast. Maybe someday I'll be into that pace, but for now, I'm really enjoying the instant gratification.

3 comments:

J.Bro said...

I just wrote a 250-word proposal for a conference paper - and egads, I can't imagine trying to make that process my job. I have a lot of respect for anyone that can do that well - my proposal felt like I slaughtering my ideas.

towwas said...

Well, it's a little easier for me, because I'm slaughtering other people's sweet, defenseless ideas. But I still get attached to the little guys sometimes.

Racine said...

Reminds me of the beginning of a letter, attributed to various well-known writers: If I had more time, I'd make this shorter!