Advice, Block, Craft, Doubt, Fiction, Publish, Short story, Writing

A story! A story? A tale of fear!

All my sources tell me that, as a new indie author, I need to publish more work soon. Writing a novel is not quick work for me. I have a story that might run novella length—might. I haven’t written it yet, of course. Another option is a short story collection.

Until the last couple of years, I’ve never been a big short story reader. I’ve written some, but they were for my own eyes. But, in the last year, I’ve greatly increased the number of short stories I read. I also read articles on how to write short fiction. I’m still not sure I get it.

I’m also not sure why I don’t get it. It’s almost as though I have a mental block. I think I write a beginning, middle, and end, but it doesn’t seem like a story to me. Is it a vignette? Is that a story?

Does a story require a moral? A lesson? A reason to exist? Am I over-thinking this? Probably. I fear I can’t write short stories. Then again, I fear I can’t write anything. FEAR.

I’d like to say I bravely take up my pen keyboard and wield it like a sword, but that would be a lie. The truth is I sit here quivering. I sit here wishing, hoping, praying that the words I’m typing make sense … have a purpose … tell a story.

That’s what I’m busy with nowadays. And I thank Christ Craig for her recent post reminding me that I have to face that fear or I’ll never know if I’ve written a story at all.

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27 thoughts on “A story! A story? A tale of fear!”

  1. I also loved Christi’s post, and agree that you just have to write and see what evolves. During the process you might even change directions/have an epiphany, and end up with a trilogy! 🙂


  2. Oh, Linda, for heaven’s sake! You don’t have to conform to some outside definition of story! Have you read the classics? Have you read James Joyce? Faulkner? Woolf? You can write whatever you want – just make sure your confidence is 100% behind it. I wrote a little post about this on the Lit Lab the other day.

    Go have a peek. 🙂

    Also, backlist is important, yes, but you also can’t force yourself to write faster than is comfortable. It’s different for everyone. Remember why you’re in this in the first place – because you love it, not because you’re a brand just out there to sell things. I haven’t even read Brevity yet, so I couldn’t go pick up another book of yours yet, anyway. I know I’m going to savor it when I do get to it! And I’ll gladly wait for the next. 🙂


    1. Actually, no, Michelle. I confess my ignorance. Concerning most of the classics, I’ve either never read them or read them so long ago I’ve forgotten most of them. I made a vow once to read more classics, but contemporary kept me too occupied.

      As for non-linear terms, it seems odd to say, considering that I live in a fairly non-linear fashion, that I don’t think that way about writing. As much as I grouse about writing RULES, I’m apparently trussed up in them. I’m going to read the book you talked about. At least, I’ll try. 😉

      And I’ve done exactly what you said not to do — I’ve forgotten. I’ve stopped writing for the sheer love of writing. Not good. Not good at all.


  3. Try not to worry too much about short stories and how to write them, they’re fun, once you relax about them, you’ll be fine. I love reading short stories, I grew up reading short story compilations from the horror masters like HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle, amonst others. (Yes, Doyle was great at horror as well as Sherlock Holmes)

    I do however, understand why you feel under pressure to be ‘out there’ publishing more work, it is why I simply cannot cope with the idea of indie publsihing, too much to do for just one person and I am struggling enough with ‘social media’ – Currently suffering from social media burnout, and I just cannot cope with any of it, and that’s why I’ve just stopped blogging, tweeting etc..

    Best of luck with whatever you decide to write next, just try not to lose your love for the writing, that is so important, if it becomes like a chore, then you need to stop and smell the roses 😉


    1. Oh, I have fun writing them, Alannah, I just never know if they’re worth reading.

      I guess I don’t put enough effort into social media to get burned out, but thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. 🙂

      And thank you for the good wishes. I do believe I’ll have to throw out the “rush to write the next book” plan. If I don’t get “discovered” until I’m 90, so be it.


  4. A lot of encouragement here in this thread, Linda. Do you know what comes to mind reading it? If you don’t enjoy writing it, chances are not many will enjoy reading it.
    You mention you stopped writing for love. I think that’s the place you need to go back to. The rest falls in place after thAt. No matter what you’re writing, if you love it, it will come out in your work. And that’s something work reading



    1. I believe that’s true, Jennifer. If I don’t love it, neither will my readers. But I don’t think I could even write a whole novel if I wasn’t enjoying it. I’m thinking this over this weekend and will probably blog about it. Just as I did as a newbie writer, I just believed everything I read as a newbie publisher. It’s time to think for myself. I took a chance publishing non-genre fiction to begin with, so I think a lot of the genre rules won’t work for me.


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