Long Story Short

Three nights ago I was looking at my to-finish-reading pile and I had a revelation.

There’s a reason these awesome, best-selling, indie, award-winning books have been collecting dust for the past seven years.

I

don’t

want

to finish

reading

them.

And it hurts my heart. It has nothing to do with the quality of writing. These are amazing stories from debut and established authors, alike.

I even tried tricking my brain into thinking they were gifts (hence the wrapping paper) so I’d stop buying MOAR books that I won’t even get to for another year.

Instead, two nights ago I unwrapped them all. I reeeally like opening presents.

I’ll be the first to admit: when it comes to pleasure reading, I have an attention span the size and duration of an ellipses…

OMG. That’s it.

I have a short attention span. Is that why I’m always watching Goosebumps re-runs? Maybe…

Which means…

I like reading in short bursts!

Which means…

I like writing in short bursts!

Which means…

I should write short stories!

But where to start…

…Hmmm. Too bad I don’t just happen to have an entire repository of dozens and dozens of short story ideas ripe for the plucking.

Oh.

Wait.

My hard drive is the gorram Winchester Mystery House of abandoned plot bunnies.

Buried deep in the fires of Mt. MacBook Air are countless (unfinished) novels. Storyless chapters leading to no where. Frayed plot lines turning to dust in their virtual graves.

BEFORE: My Eternal Hard Drive of Abandoned Plot Bunnies.

And titles. Oh, the unstoried titles…

Two nights ago, I sifted through it all: My self-inflicted slush pile. Admittedly, I’m surprised. Some of these aren’t half bad.

A handful make me not want to set my self on fire, even.

What I’m noticing is that the older the story is, the more likely it is to start amazing (like, I-forgot-I-was-reading-amazing), then fizzle out somewhere between page seven and 13. But those first pages….ohhhhh Nelly. Not, too bad Davis.

Back when I began writing with the intent to publish, I had no idea plotting was an option.

Pantser ONLY.

Now I’m thinking, maybe there was method to that madness. I’ve been so preoccupied plotting my stories to death, no wonder I never finish a full-length novel.

And you know what? I’m leaning into it.

Last night, after I exhumed the chosen few spooky story ideas from my slush pile, I gave each one a nice new cubby:

AFTER: The chosen ones that will be reviewed for short story collection potential.

Granted I won’t end up using all of these. Most are half a sentence long, three are empty, and the rest are likely regurgitations of the others, but it’s a start.

And why reinvent the wheel?

For all I know I have a seven volume set of spooky anthologies buried in here. I’ll keep you posted.

But now, it’s reading time.

Right after eighteen quick episodes of Goosebumps.

R.L. Stine: The Man. The Myth. The reason I didn’t sleep from 1992-1996 (Courtesy of the interwebs).

Pay your respects.