Friday, October 22, 2010

I Don't Write Longer

I write short, because I read short.
I write the story, not the length.
The writer rewrites first to be reread forever.


There, that should keep my average post length down. Oh, fine...

By "Writing Longer", I mean to say writing longer than the story requires. To be more blunt, padding the story. I hate that. To use a Fantasy example, I like "The Hobbit" but hate "The Lord of the Rings". To use a Science Fiction example...well, the only book I can remember thinking "That was too long!" instead of merely "That wasn't that good" was "Revelation Space" (Alastair Reynolds). Science Fiction is usually pretty good about brevity. So, that's good for me.

The methods I used for coming up with writing ideas keep me from writing longer.

I use three* methods, from most common to least common:

Come up with an interesting character 
or a group of characters. End the story when they're no longer interesting

Generate a pile of images
and derive the characters and story by stringing them together. End the story when all the images are gone and you've got at least one round character.

Write a really good opening 
and see what happens next (or what happened before) AKA Discovery Writing. End the story when you discover the ending, then cut out the rambling bits.

*Write while Drinking, et al. 
Not really a method, per se, but sometimes it works. And it's always fun. In the morning over coffee, ruthlessly cut what you wrote down to the 10% core of good stuff.

Do not edit while drunk.


I assume this is what our Speculative ravings will look like to one of the more positive futures.

I could care less, because without speculation, the future will almost certainly be negative. If it isn't already. I suppose it's rather sad that my great hopes for the Future are Time Travel and Multiple Dimensions.

Of course, my greatest hope for the future is for me to have one.

250 words? Yes
Short Story "Kritarchy" - finished, simmering
Short Story "The Language of Ice Cubes" - final check
- - - -
Reading - ?



  1. An interesting sidebar: I've been reading a lot of novels lately and no short fiction, and can't write short fiction... perhaps because of it? However, I still get very easily bored by characters and situations. Thus, I am writing a "long" that is characterized by a stringing together of a dozen different "shorts" - in other words, the "telling" of a "world" by volition of a bunch of characters I find wicked.

    I believe I stole the idea from Steven Erikson.


  2. Well, I meant short in the sense of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" or "The Great Gatsby", but your book sounds good too. Although your description puts me in mind of "World War Z"'s format which, while cool and/or awesome, was poorly ended.

    I do have the Malazan books, but I've never actually read them. I suppose I should.


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