Monday, July 8, 2013

Not Short Stories

Wisdom of an Inner Editor
Renee is not a concise person. You may have noticed this from blog posts that ramble hither, tither, and yon, meandering on occasion to a completely different point than originally intended.

And that is without the drivel I force her to remove before she publishes those posts.

Renee is very well aware of the wordy nature of her prose, which is at least something. It makes the revisions process easier when I don't have to fight her over the need to tighten things. But every now and again, she'll get the idea to write something short.

The last time she tried to write a short story, we ended up working on a trilogy.

Most of the time she remains safely convinced that short stories aren't in her repertoire and, while she hates admitting she can't do something, we both remain reasonably satisfied. She doesn't beat her head against a wall trying to tell a story in a manner she's not comfortable with and I don't have to hold her and the Muse's hands while I guide them through slashing and burning page after page.

Most of the time. But not all of the time.

And that's why I must sometimes pour an extra cup of coffee and brace myself for rounds of writing and then cutting.

She's writing one such "short" story now. Eager to finish something and needing a better handle on the background of Familiar, Renee signed up for this month's Camp NaNoWriMo. In the abstract, it was a good plan. I like finishing things and I understand the need for background information in story building. I approved this break from our regular narratives.

But she's trying to write a short story. While I applaud her pragmatism in setting a low goal of 10,000 words, as we don't get as much time to write as we'd like and there's no reason to drive ourselves mad trying to hit a self-imposed deadline, I can't help but be... discontented by her naïveté.

There is no way this story will be complete in 10,000 words. She's been writing for a week, she's got almost 4,000 words, and she's barely through the inciting incident. The trial hasn't even started yet, for pity's sake. I cannot see how I'm going to cut this thing down to short story length. By the time she's done with it, it may well be a full-length novel.

Perhaps I can convince her to think in terms of a 30,000-word story and we can call it a novella instead.

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