The Long and The Short



Most days I lock myself in a little writing closet

and don’t come out until I’ve made significant headway on something, usually my book. Once the first draft was completed, a readable rendition, the majority of my read-through tribe couldn’t get into it. Admittedly, the beginning of the book seemed as dull as watching sleeping cats. I needed a new angle.

To sharpen the story, some good scenes would be cut, story holes correctly filled and extraneous rabbit trails eliminated. Some points of the story, if I’m brutally honest, were not the least bit believable. While pruning, rewriting and revising, it occurs to me how long this process takes. About a year to write a rough draft between working, family time and other obligations. Another six months to get it to the editing stage. Even though I write every day, nobody sees much of it until the full-length book survives a few revisions. Not much new writing happening there.

Maybe you’re wondering, about all those story ideas I’ve been stockpiling? What if I write short stories too? Having another, completely different story to work on while I noodle through a problematic scene has improved my creativity. This line of thinking triggered The Great Divide, A Novelette.  “Until Rodanthe” was published while working on a book.

Lately,  more ideas refuse to be shelved, and they don’t necessarily have enough in them to be full-length novels. I work on them in my head until I have to write down. I like the challenge of keeping them short and sharp. I’ve got a neat little pile going. Maybe, as an experiment, I’ll send them out. I like the idea of sending out stories, dreaming of them finding homes where they leap off pages to fill hundreds of heads. Who knows, maybe something great will happen. Who knows, maybe I will even get paid!

How do you keep track of the story ideas you have floating around in your mind? We’d love to hear from you.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. The Great and Wonderful Gnu says:

    Love the tag “butt in chair”; find it interesting that you must go into a closet to write – except in spring, summer (okay, fall too if there’s no snow) when you have a place outside for said ‘chair’; love that some of those deleted scenes that you initially loved could be reworked into a stand alone short. Did I ever read “Until Rodanthe”? hmm..


    1. JEOcean says:

      Until Rodanthe was published in Ocean magazine a few years ago. Since the rights
      have reverted back to me, I have considered making it a short short available on
      Amazon. At the present moment, it is undecided. As for the closet, you’d be surprised
      how much work I get done there, and I spend a lot of time in it. A photo of it has been
      posted somewhere. It’s a perfect room for what I need to do. Desk and all.


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