Short Forms of Writing Into Long

I seem to naturally gravitate toward the short forms of writing – short stories, poems, flash fiction, essays, blog posts, etcetera.  I’ve written many short stories and essays over the years – for myself, for school and for publication.  I don’t think it’s any easier, but I like being able to bring something full circle and complete it in a shorter time span – sort of how some people prefer to read short stories because they are constantly being interrupted by kids and life.

I admit I haven’t written much haiku.  Heck, I don’t feel like I’ve written much lately, period.  But a poet recently challenged a group I attended to take another look at haiku and give it a try.  I fully intend to do that.  I’ve been writing a fair bit of poetry in general.  I’m working on a villanelle at the moment.  It made me think about what I write and what type of writing I gravitate toward.  So, here’s my thinking…

I’m more a prose writer than a poet… but I like to write poetry so I do.  Likewise, I am more comfortable with the short form but I want to write a novel.  How to translate that short form into a novel?  Well, I’ve gone the other way – breaking the beginning of a novel I wrote into short stories, so there’s my answer.  Write each chapter as a short story that is self-contained but also connected to the next.

Harken back to the episodic style of writing in radio dramas like Star Wars and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  (I admit just saying those names gets me excited about writing again.)  Big Fish is a novel that seemed to be a series of short stories strung together.  Each chapter, or vignette, was self-contained but the sum of the whole proved greater than the parts.

I can do this.  There will be a novel this year.

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