Writing short stories is a very different experience to novelling.
The main issue is that in an ideal world a short is self contained – you can’t have too many threads because it gets confusing. Over the past 9 months I’ve got used to bashing out big, sprawling narratives that rabbit on and keep introducing new characters all over the place, safe in the knowledge I can rescue the salient points when editing time cometh.
However, I’m finding I can’t hide behind hazy future editing time when writing a short story. Obviously I can point out in a pathetic sort of way that it’s a first draft and it will change a bit in the edit, but if the whole notion is crap I can’t junk one bit and expand a subplot. There aren’t any.
Which leads me to a confession: so far this month, I’ve been going back and editing things. I can’t help it. I physically can’t bash out a wee story at 1.5k and move on – I feel compelled to re-read and change bits.
In my defense, I haven’t given up on anything and I’m mainly only changing phrasing here and there. The most I’ve deleted completely is a paragraph. But technically it’s against the NaNoWriMo keep on keepin’ on spirit of the project, so I thought I should come clean. After all, when the trust is gone what do we have?
Speaking of NaNo, it has occurred to me that if I’m drawing a graphic novel (or more likely a comic) in November I almost certainly won’t be coming up with 50k of text to go with it. I haven’t decided on a story yet, and drawing a page takes considerably longer than writing one. So what should I do? Write out the storyboard and dialogue and leave the drawings for some other time? Or sit NaNo out this year? Answers on a postcard, please. Or in the comment box, which is easier and doesn’t cost anything.