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Writer's block? Thank god for the short story!

  1. profile image0
    MOlmsteadposted 6 years ago

    I find that while attempting to start a novel I was getting stuck. The result was a computer folder full of short stories about a young con man named Tyler, a slacker whose biggest flaw is that he's a pathological liar. Does anyone find that short stories and failed attempts to put a novel together cohesively go hand in hand? What are ways to put these stories together, and make a readable novel that makes sense chronologically? Do you think short stories could be viable way of putting a novel together?

    1. VictorS. profile image58
      VictorS.posted 6 years ago in reply to this

      You could try calling the collection a "Short Story Cycle" (or a composite novel if you want another term for the genre)--a collection of interconnected short stories. These short stories might have recurring characters, a collective setting, and recurring themes. A "Short Story Cycle" would have more cohesiveness than a mere collection of short stories, yet would not need to be as linear and rigid, perhaps, as a novel. O'Brien's The Things They Carried and Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio are two of my favorite SSCs. The only downside is that there has always seemed to be more of a market for novels--which I find odd considering the terrible attention spans of most modern readers (myself included).

    2. AlyzaLewis profile image59
      AlyzaLewisposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I'm the exact opposite.  My failed attempts at short stories wind up producing full-length novels.  Maybe that sounds a bit strange, but honestly I find it much harder to squish my ideas down into short stories than I do to go all out and write a whole book.

      If they're all about the same character in the same situations then they might go together pretty well.

    3. N.E. Wright profile image79
      N.E. Wrightposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Actually, I have several Idea's Note Books.  I write out any idea that comes to mind where ever I am.

      Those ideas can be for short stories or novels.   it does not matter.  After you have the idea you can come up with a title, and than you brainstorm.  Well, that is what I was taught and it worked for me for almost 20 years now.

  2. 2uesday profile image84
    2uesdayposted 6 years ago

    I suppose one way to link the stories (if suitable) would be to give each chapter a date which could be diary style or random dates in but in a date ordered sequence.

    Another way might be life stage order.

    I cannot really comment on the rest as writing a novel does not tempt me, short stories are my favourite form of creative writing.

    1. profile image0
      MOlmsteadposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I like the life stage idea. It'd be interesting to see him progress from sort of small deceeptions to grand ellaborate cons. maybe add a mentor for him or something.

  3. camlo profile image84
    camloposted 6 years ago

    Can you sort the stories into one, cohesive order? Try it, even if the result is not perfect, then write up a step sheet, ironing out the areas where parts of the potential novel don't flow smoothly into the next part. Then rewrite the stories according to the step sheet as a novel.
    That's what I'd do. smile

  4. jagerfoods profile image59
    jagerfoodsposted 6 years ago

    I've had a similar situation. I started a book draft a long time ago. After two or three chapters I showed it to a few friends and family. I got a good, positive response, which in my mind was the green light to keep going with it. Two chapters after that my though process flatlined. I literally didn't know where to take the characters much less the story line. I thought if I let it sit for a while it would come to me. Six years later it's still collecting dust.
    In your situation a collection of short stories about a particular character might actually work as long as they cohesively fit together. If nothing else you could always fine tune your short stories and publish them as cliff hangers. Good luck to you.

  5. Lisa HW profile image81
    Lisa HWposted 6 years ago

    I like the short-story approach to writer's block.  I ought to try that.  When I get "block" I tend to search my mental files for things to rant about.  lol  lol  Some rants aren't worth putting into writing unless/until I have nothing else to write (and even then, they aren't worth putting into writing - and yet I go ahead and put them into writing anyway.  roll ).  In all seriousness, I may actually try the short-story remedy.  smile

  6. profile image0
    Poetic Foolposted 6 years ago

    The short story method is similar to what I do.  I used to hate my hour plus commute each way to work until I started utilizing the time to start working through cenes in my head.  It works great for me. 

    After developing the basic story line, I develop each chapter like a short story in my head during my drive, dialogue and all.  The people driving next to me must think I'm crazy because I speak it all aloud.  I think it helps make the dialogue sound more natural.

    By the time I sit down to actually type it the vast majority has already been done.  At first I recorded it on a micro-cassette but found I could pretty much remember it all.

  7. profile image56
    dreamgirllposted 6 years ago

    i say that when u write and that one thing thats on your mind comes and out of no where a block comes up its hard to to get that thought back in your head. some people say that when the little distract them thats what helps them write better why is that ?