Short Fiction and Writing Length

Down there in the bullets are my super-tiny Twitter short stories from last year for @shortstoryday. Apparently it’s every December 22nd, so I guess now you’ve got lots of notice… I only found out about it several days afterwards and tossed a few in anyway. They retweeted one of ’em which was nice of them. It was fun, and tough.

  • A man came to my door. I killed him. Shame.
  • Time bent, and it was yesterday again.
  • The moon wavered above. Their eyes wide, it fell.
  • Surrounded by mermaids I sighed. I could handle perhaps five.
  • Night fell, and with it our hopes. Dawn never came.
  • Her dress was even shorter than her vows.

I usually write Pigheart stories at about 1,000 words. That’s something like 7 and 1/2 minutes when read out loud. It’s a fun length to scribble for and has me brutally editing the entirely unfunny bits. Good discipline I reckon. But I’ve found I want to write longer stories now, but I feel like I need permission. I’m not sure from who. Me I suppose. Granted. The new Galaxy Team and Alex Trepan stuff which has infested my mind of late is tending to be much longer – Goodbye Mister Bimbolino was nearly 6,500! Big stuff for me. We’ll see how it goes. The new Trepan is going to be half that length (I think).

I’ve also found fun in much shorter stories (not Twitter short though!) with the website theshortestfiction.com which I found on Facebook. They’re encouraging stories of <=300 words. It’s a nice length for creating, though I’m not yet convinced you can really do a story in it. They give you a selection of pictures to inspire you and then it’s up to you. There’s a nice mix of stuff on the site and it’s easy to interact with. I’ll probably keep posting them here as well so I can make pretty pictures of my own. (I reposted the first one here, with a Cthulu-ish beast shot and a few more words.) Warning – the 300 word counter is weirdly buggy and it won’t let me have more than 292. It’s a nice way of provoking stories.

You can find my stories here: http://theshortestfiction.com/users/nick .

Do you have a ‘natural’ story length? Do you write at random? Does it all just come to life perfectly for you? Well that’s nice. No seriously, I’m curious…

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1 Comment

  1. I have no natural length, though, (as you mentioned) the thousand word limit has done wonders for my ability to cut unnecessary fat.

    Sometimes I find it more difficult to head back to a larger space, (as with KAV,) as I feel like I should be telling the story faster – usually this is a sign that I’m displeased with the pacing of the current chapter, and need to make it snappier.

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