Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The eluding, captivating short story

I'm currently working on a short story featuring characters and a scenario that have been with me, in very on-and-off fashion, since college. I'm in my late twenties, so college wasn't that long ago, but still I've spent the better part of a decade contemplating this story and trying to make it work.  It's not a frequent obsession.  I only come back to it once every year or so, when a random thought makes me ponder if this would work instead. I must have rewritten the ending about four different ways now, struggling to find something that feels just right, and not like a first chapter.  I don't want to turn this into a novel.  Yet.  I think I could actually write a novel with this set-up and cast, but I also think there could be a lot of value in keeping this particular glimpse into the world in short-story format.

I think I may have finally thought of the solution, which I will write tonight and hope doesn't leave me with an apathetic feeling after.

I don't hold on stubbornly to all my story ideas; I've let many go when I realize they just won't work.  Yet I keep coming back to this one, with its semi-generic post-RPG feeling, and trying to find a way to make it satisfy me.  There's something in me that yearns for a proper conclusion, even if the story languishes on my hard drive for the rest of my life.

Maybe this time will be the right time. You'd think after seven years that I'd be willing to set this aside...

Which of your writing projects have you revisited the most?  Over how long a time?  And when do you know it's just time to give up and move on?


Roxanne Ravenel said...

My first attempt at writing a novel as an adult involved an ensemble cast written from the point of view of four different characters. I loved the story and the characters, but getting in the head of four different women in the same story was challenging. Especially since it was my first novel in more than 20 years and I hadn't started using outlining or character profiles.

Still, I love that story and I can't let it go. At least not yet. I plan to go back and finish it. One day.

Kristin Laughtin said...

@Roxanne: I agree, multiple POVs can be tough. I've got a trunked novel that I'd like to revisit in some form someday, and one of my key questions is whether to tell it from a single or multiple POVs.

Maybe you don't need to let that story go. Maybe you just need to hold on to it until your skills have increased enough to tackle it. :-)