It’s a Short Story … Psyche!

I’m having the time of my life with Serial Central. There are some truly wonderful stories there and those of you who have not had the time to see it should make the time.

No. The shameless plug is not over. For now it’s time for me to talk a little about the story I am sharing over there. (If you would like to read the premise, please CLICK HERE. If you would like to read Part One, please CLICK HERE.)

The idea behind Serial Central is to share our short stories with the blogging community. The stories are posted serially (ha! get it?) to make it more fun and to receive better feedback on the writing. It’s easier to comment constructively and thoroughly on a small piece of writing rather than the story as a whole.

So as I’m writing “Ensnared” I’m feeling great. Everything is going well. I’m making the pre-proposed word count (more or less) and I’m thinking the story will take about twelve weeks.

Well. Clearly that won’t work. I’m not yet finished writing it, but I’ve only just completed Part Seven and I’m not even at the halfway point! What I thought was a short story is turning into a long story. Then I started going WAY over the word count we decided on and had to cut back. This now requires adding more parts to allow the story to develop completely. I can’t have things go too fast, even for a short story. Now it seems the finished product will turn out to be 20,000 words to be revealed over a series of twenty weeks.

Indeed my friends, the short story has become a novella. It’s even on an official word counter -thing (ok, so it’s not official but it displays the general rule of thumb).

How did this happen? I was so proud of myself for finally being able to write a short story and now it turns out that it’s not really a short story.

The answer is, I’m too creative. That’s right. I think of far too complicated plots and twists and what-have-you and it just all can’t happen to my poor characters in 8,000 words. (Disclaimer – I am not saying those who CAN accomplish this feat are less creative than I. On the contrary, I am praising you for your superior plotting discipline).

Or the opposite can happen to me. I will only image snippets of short scenes in my head but have no story to which I can attach them. So they float around on their own for a while until I finally cave and just write them and wind up with some very short flash fiction.

I suppose I just do things in extreme (if you would like to see physical evidence of that, please CLICK HERE and check out my second blog At Large in London to see how my packing is going). I can’t just write a short story of average length. It has to be a novel/la or short short short short short story.

How do you know what your idea will turn out to be? What tells you “This is a short story!” or “Hey I’m totally a novel” or  “I’m just so darn cute, make me flash fiction!” ????


About Miss Rosemary

is a recent college graduate from NY hoping to complete her novel of ten years. Stop by her blog, Miss Rosemary's Novel Ideas at or contact her at with comments, questions and suggestions. She'd love to hear from you! View all posts by Miss Rosemary

17 responses to “It’s a Short Story … Psyche!

  • Brown Eyed Mystic

    I wish I were you!
    I want to totally disregard the very discipline for once and start writing a novel! 😛


  • slightlyignorant

    See, I write flash-fiction pretty easily, but I don’t think I’ve written more than a couple proper short stories, and I’ve never been pleased with them. I’m like you – either it’s really long, or really short. I wish I could write a proper short story with a beginning, middle and end and a point to it all!

  • aloysa

    A weird thing happened to me the other day. I got inspired, I saw a character in my mind. An idea of a novel came to me. I sat down and started writing and it turned out to be a short story. LOL So, you never know what your final product will be. 🙂

  • sharmon

    Very interesting question, Rosemary! I started writing novels and never considered shorts till I got disgusted w/ my lack of success in finishing one. I decided why not? Somehow the form came naturally and I fell in love with it. They usually fall in the 1,200wds-3k wds category. I did start one thinking it would be the same and was hard pressed to keep it under 5k. I honestly think it would be possible to rework it into a novel length work, but not at this time.
    Poems or shorts can be the trickier decision. Sometime I get these visions, ideas and think they are poems, but on paper they want to be shorts. Or vice versa. Sometimes I don’t know till I write them. Time is precious so I really only try to commit to paper what I’m pretty sure I can shape, and visualize, at least roughly, beforehand. Generally I think in novel-form and characters come to me with novels more or less attached :-).
    I’d love to know how other writers answer this quetion–thanks for posing it.

  • firepages

    I’m a very big short story fan. I am always impressed by authors who can achieve such a succinct writing style.

  • Lua

    A novella- that’s OK with me, I loved the first part of Ensnared so the longer the better 😉 And my first serial story, Difference in the Shadows, lasted for 17 weeks, so I guess writing short short stories are not for girls like us 🙂
    I can’t believe you’ll be in London in 2 days! How exciting is this? Don’t forget to discover all the cool places before I get there- I’m counting on you! 🙂

  • milkfever

    Be happy that you have so many great ideas, Miss Rosemary. And good editing will soon whittle down your word count, right?
    Nothing wrong with a novella after all.

  • Barb

    I’m “too creative” for short stories too! 😉 I’ve written hundreds when I was younger, but now I prefer novels or novellas. I’m adding stuff to Jessamine while I rewrite (from the Italian version), and it’s going to be longer than intended… but then, I’ve seen on Smashwords there’s plenty of novellas, so I might end up putting the edited (after-SerialCentral-pub) there, maybe even for free! 😉 You can’t sell a novella to an agent or publisher anyway, so maybe that’s the best thing for me… mid-lenght (my novels never reach 100000words)! 😉

    • Miss Rosemary

      Ugh! I’m right there with you Barb! I’m pretty sure all my novels are actually very long novellas because I haven’t actually gotten up to around 60k yet … we’ll see. I’ve got to work on my platform.

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