Short Fiction

Thank God. 2014 is the year I can stop including “write short fiction” in my New Year’s Resolutions, because I finally committed to taking a class.  I might have taken a how-to book out of the library, or just jumped in on my own but we know where that leads – to resolving to “write short fiction” for three years in a row. (I checked the archives).

The class ran from January through March and I hated every minute of it. Or as I wrote to Leeanne in an e-mail, “I effing can’t seem to stand writing short fiction, much to my surprise.”

This discovery was a disappointment to me. Frankly, I have always imagined that all of this writing business was eventually going to lead me to fiction. I am honestly not sure if I could have suffered through it if Joolie hadn’t been simultaneously doing a short fiction workshop of her own and cheering me on from Austin. In fact, I even tried to get out of the class but it was too late to get a refund so I grudgingly carried on.

Anyway, even though I handed all but the final assignment in late and was, at one point, six assignments behind, I finished that damn course. Fortunately, the goal of the class was not to create a polished story ready for submission, just a finished rough draft that we could continue to work through and shine up when the class was over. I can’t say that I’m satisfied with the draft I produced, but I didn’t give up and I feel good about that. I am not exactly known for sticking with things I’m not immediately good at.

I had two big problems with writing short fiction. First, I found it very difficult to just make stuff up. I really, really resisted it. Second, I realized that I just totally get off on real-life stories. There’s so much crazy shit out there to write about – wow – why do I need to make it up? On the other hand, I often come across little bits of news and life that I can’t do much with in terms of non-fiction but that could be something really cool in a short story.  It did get easier when I stopped thinking so much about it and forced myself to just GO. Maybe all the stuff I learned just needs to percolate for awhile; I’m still hopeful that there’s some short fiction in me.

In the end, I based my story on real events and the protagonist on myself and I’ll leave you with a comment from my instructor. I can’t decide if I fictionalized myself very well, or should have tried harder to disguise myself!

In a sense, she seems fanciful, someone who likes to fantasize.

4 thoughts on “Short Fiction

  1. Wow, that’s so great that you took a leap to meet a goal and then stayed open to what the experience would teach you—namely, that perhaps your goal of writing fiction wasn’t the right one for you anyway. How else would you have found that out? Kudos to you for making the effort to learn!

  2. I think this is superb. I love your spirited sense of … well, if it’s undefinable then that’s the best possible compliment. I shall follow your blog!

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