Big Ideas in Short Stories

Now that the first draft of the new novel is safely in its “cold storage” phase (aka the waiting period before the second draft), I’ve turned my attention back to short stories.

For years, I’ve struggled with the question: Is this idea worthy of a novel or is it destined for a short story? It’s often obvious. Classic short story ideas lend themselves to O. Henry-style twists or shaggy dog rambles down a garden path. It’s not so obvious when the short story is character driven and I’m tempted to hang out with the fictional person for more than the limited literary time of a single tale.

Not long after I typed THE END on page 313 of the novel draft, I started a character-driven story that, at least for now, feels like a short story. On the other hand, it could be a preamble to story within a much longer and more complicated story—that would make this idea NOVEL material. I’m tempted to invest novel-style time in learning about the protagonist, to exploring how she thinks and why she does what she does and maybe this story will turn out to be the next novel… Maybe?

The cat reminds me not to waste time wondering. He whispers, "just write."

The cat reminds me not to waste time wondering. He whispers, “just write.”


  1. -grin- You’ve caught the bug, Candy. For now though, just do what the cat says and enjoy the writing. You’ll know soon enough what the story needs. 🙂 Oh and CONGRATULATIONS on the first draft. That’s fantastic news.

    • Candy Korman

      Thanks! I’m awaiting notes from two readers. We’ll see how many drafts this one will need. Now, it’s on to something—or many things— else!