Sense & sensibility

So last year I interviewed an alum of the MFA program for an article and she said something that really stuck with me (that I’ve blogged about before, but who knows where or in what context) about writerly sensibility, and knowing who you are as a writer. Meaning, a sprinter or a long-distance runner: a short story writer or a novelist.

I am, unequivocally, a long distance-type writer. The kind who shows up night after night and logs the word count. Meaning a novelist, I guess. Lately I’ve been beating myself up about my apparent inability to write a short short story…all of my stories balloon to 5K+ words, as I discover and include all these details about my characters’ lives until there’s just this overstuffed mass that I can’t cut because NO! That’s the story, dammit.

Lately I look at my stories and I see all these nascent novels, things that I could explore more fully in long drafts, and well, why shouldn’t I? If that’s my nature, and everything starts out short, why not let those short stories be phase one novels that just grow and grow from there?

I hate the idea of just chalking it up to nature, though. That’s why I’m working on a short short (or will be, as soon as I have a little time).


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