My latest short story, 'Walk with Me', was done. Fini. Finito. In the bag! Check my post on 12 July. I just KNEW I was going to get it done 'soon'. And I did. But...
I gave it to my editors (my wife and my daughter ;-) and waited for the rave reviews. I feel it's another step up the writing ladder in my quest to be a good writer. It has some mysticism in it, but it's primarily a love story about a couple at the end of their lives and how they handle the inevitable.
It has good dialogue, descriptive scenes and some well thought out characters. These are things my editors have harped on, I mean encouraged me to improve upon. I've really been trying to take my time and let more of what's in my mind come through to the page. Less movie script description and more scene development.
The verdict was that it was better and very intriguing. But it's too short.
It's 13,000 words. A short story. So it's OK to be short. Right?
Now to be clear, both my editors read in several book clubs and consume more books than I do. My daughter is an English Major and tutors at the local high school. My wife can read a paragraph and tell you every place it could be improved. I pay attention to their thoughts and criticisms whenever I'm not absolutely sure I want things my way for some reason.
In this case, they are right. Damn!
The 'problem' is that it IS a good story and I DON'T give the reader enough. I short-cut several small plot lines only because I didn't want to put the effort into them. And the book obviously suffers for it. The reader will wonder why the characters feel or act the way they do because I have not guided the reader through those arcs. I tried to do the movie script scene description cheat again. It doesn't work.
The reader deserves to walk in the shoes of my characters and share the reasons for their pain or joy. I should not just describe their feelings, I should take the reader's hand and show them. Get them inside the souls and minds of these people and let them share those feelings.
I'm going to take my time and make a 'full' story. It might still be technically a short story ( < 20,000 words) but it will be a complete story. More likely it will be in the 40,000 to 60,000 words range. I'm not sure at this point. I try not to worry about word length anyway.
It will be worth savoring. The reader will enjoy the ebb and flow and feel complete when the end is reached.
I am an impatient man. I must learn to be a patient writer.
I hope you, my readers and fellow writers, will be satisfied with the effort.
Be cool, my friends.