Over the last few weeks I’ve been gorging myself on writing short stories. I’ve found that the more I write them, the more short story ideas pop into my head. However, I think I may have reached a point now where I can stop or at least reduce this current obsession and get down to focusing on some editing.
I have the end of the month as a deadline for the Tom Fitzgibbon award so that means I need to get stuck into the last edit of ‘The Land Beneath the Shadows’ before I can send it off.
However, my brain is still a little preoccupied on the half a dozen or so short stories I've written. They have all been finished, edited and polished up. I’ve sent them out to various places, looking for welcoming homes for each of them.
I have found the process of focusing solely on short stories and leaving the novels alone for a while an interesting one. For one thing, I get far grumpier when my writing is interrupted when I’m working on a short story. I think it’s because short stories can feel like they have to be finished. They don’t want to let you go once you start. With a novel, I anticipate that it’s going to take a long time. I can still get annoyed if real life tries to drag me away from the computer when I’m in the middle of a gripping or important scene but largely I just fall into a steady rhythm of writing what I can, when I can. With novel writing, there are days when you bounce as you step away from the keyboard, thrilled that the part you’ve just written is brilliant, others where you feel that you didn’t execute the scene as well as you wanted to, but largely you just focus on what’s coming up next and what you’re going to be writing the following day.
I found with short stories though it was different when I was prised away from the computer. The emotions of the story lingered with me and hung around for most of the day. I find that I tend to feel and empathetise a lot with my characters while I’m writing, but I was surprised at how much the feelings and experiences of my short story characters projected onto my own mood and how long those feelings lasted.
I have been jumping around hugely in tones with the various stories, some light and comedic, others dark and nasty, and others somewhere in between. I fear this may mean that I’ve appeared somewhat like I have multiple personalities over the last few weeks, my moods changing depending on the story I was working on. I’ll have to ask the Significant Other Writer at home to find out.