A 10-page story…

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Last week I decided that I would write a short story and enter it into the Toronto Star’s Short Story Contest.  It seemed logical to me that since I’ve written a number of novels that surely I could whip up a 10-page short story in no time at all.

Not true.

What I quickly realized is that a short story isn’t 10 pages of a 200+ page story.  A short story is 10 pages of a 10 page story.

While some writers may shy away from the daunting number of pages in a typical novel, I learned that, in my case, it is just as frightening to fathom a complete story – with a beginning, a middle, and an end – in a limited number of pages. It’s like an artist who paints on a 10-foot square canvas and then decides to try painting on a 10-inch square canvas. Everything that made sense on the larger canvas – the size of objects, the choice of colours, the perspective, etc. – doesn’t necessarily work on a smaller canvas.

Writing a short story isn’t an easier version of writing a novel. It’s a new and different challenge.

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2 thoughts on “A 10-page story…

  1. Reblogged this on Tena Laing and commented:
    I’m doing this short story writing challenge with Emma, and reblogging her post about it – I couldn’t agree more with the surprising math of short versus long. Everything else I’m working on is in the hundreds of pages, so this is a refreshing change of page/pace. And yet… it requires quite a different set of tools. We’ll see if i can find that toolbox.

    Like

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