Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Going Long

I don’t write short stories.

Make that can’t write short stories.

My first-ever GIF on the blog!
OK, maybe if I really worked at it and went off on a spiritual quest and spent 40 days in the desert covered in dried mud, channeling my animal spirit guide, and then came home and did a lot of core muscle training with one of those exercise ball thingies…MAYBE I could learn to write a halfway decent short story. But I don’t see myself doing that at this late stage in the game. And I detest doing sit-ups, so really it’s a non-starter.

I’m going to tell you an extremely embarrassing thing about my first YA manuscript, and you are going to howl with derisive laughter, and then I’m going to pout because it’s not nice to do that to someone who’s in confession mode. But I’m going to tell you anyway because I need to get it off my chest.

My first YA manuscript was 185,000 words long.

And I queried that mutha with a straight face.

Yes. OK. I totally deserved that buwahahahaha. Time for a musical interlude. Please watch this while you get control of yourself.   

Writing short or even shortish is hard work for me. (See previous post on being an overthinkerer.) I think I would have done well in the 19th century. When real men wrote manly books, and by God, girth counted for something! People didn’t mind a few digressions on whaling and such back then. No, they did not.

Nowadays? No. Writing long is not a bonus. I’m sure that not being able to write short is the reason I bombed out as a journalist.

Each of us has a natural writing distance that’s most comfortable. Some people are pithy as heck. Their tweets are funny and meaningful; they sound like Mark Twain writing fortune cookie fortunes. Other people write hilarious blog posts that hit just the right spot lengthwise and make people inclined to visit again and again.

Not me.

If left unchecked, I would specialize in bloat.

So, yeah, I’m doing my best to keep things brief, and blogging has helped me get the verbiage under control, but I recognize that there’s a level of shortness beyond which I cannot hope to go. Short stories will never be an area of writing strength for me. Frankly, I can hardly even sign a check without adding a footnote. 

Anyone else out there like me, pressing acres of words down into a single bottle of prose? I’m thinking there must be a vitamin supplement that can help me. Maybe a vaccine. Something like that?