Posted in Writing General Discussion, Writing Specifics and Samples

My Short Story: Thirty Chapters, Still Writing

I suppose the time is approaching for me to admit that I am not, and possibly never will be, a writer of short stories.  At the very least, this current effort can no longer compete in that genre. I hold out hope that it might be a novella, but I confess to not knowing the requirements for that genre, and I can’t quite bring myself to find out.

September:

  1. I posted a piece called “Ordinary Rituals: A Story,” but that was one of those classic cheats–an edited chapter from a novel.
  2. I finally challenged myself to write a story from scratch. It was to be a story about my grandmother.
  3. At the end of the month, I was still calling it a story and still writing.

October and half of November:

  1. The blog was silent.

November and December:

  1. I published one blog each month about problems with Chapter Nineteen of what, by that time, I had abandoned all pretense of calling a short story.  I managed to make a few smart remarks about my high school boyfriend.
  2. I continued to write.
  3. I rescued from the flames of an old website several blogs about the artist Joseph Raffael.

January:

  1. It crossed my mind that somehow combining photographs of my grandparents at two different stages might, as a cover, suggest a novel about a marriage over time. I spent the entire month and more juxtaposing and printing photographs for every friend and family member I know. I created a great book cover. I was taking a break from writing.

February: 

  1. I had to reorganize and rewrite Chapters Twenty-Seven through Twenty-Nine.
  2. I have just completed a draft of Chapter Thirty.

I am still writing.

And I did, finally, do a bit of research. I found this:

“A novella is a long short story or a short novel.”

That is the kind of thing that makes me want to start pulling my hair out.

Eventually, in time to save my sanity, I found something more specific:

“A novella is a text of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel, somewhere between 17,500 and 40,000 words.”

 

On the tenth of February 2019 at 8:54 PM Eastern Standard Time, my manuscript is

42,936 words.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Author:

I am retired from over thirty years as an English teacher in the classrooms of independent secondary schools and small private colleges. I spent an unconscionable amount of my early retirement catching up on my New Yorkers and reading the most recent books from my favorite mystery writers. I volunteered. I wrote letters. Then along came 2015--a year of entirely unexpected "firsts." I wrote and published my first book and became a grandmother for the first time. Since then, I have established a regular routine of keeping my grandson half of most weekends and have written three more books. I've been blogging weekly for most of that three years. I have never thought of myself as a writer--not enough discipline. My passion was in those classrooms. In Kentucky, I kept bees. In Michigan I had llamas and a sweat lodge. I didn't write about any of that. And yet, here I am. I write every day. I can't seem to stop writing. It suits me.

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