In Q and A, I try to get at something valuable from my fellow writers, by asking just a single question.
Installment #3: Matthew Simmons, Seattle, WA.
At what point can you tell that an idea is worthy of becoming a short story? Or similarly, at what point does a short story appear to be asking to become a novel? Consider this a process question, as much about the specifics of your writing practice as it is about how you let the work decide what it needs to be, and if there are lessons to be drawn from for others.
I find that I really only have one way of determining whether or not an idea is a short story or not. You have to take the idea to the page and work it out there. I don’t really take notes or create outlines. I know a beginning because it sounds like a beginning. I tend to know an ending because it feels like it’s there imbedded in the beginning. And the rest of it is all the writing and the looking at the page and the hitting of the delete key and the talking out loud and the shaking my head and the standing up and sitting right back down and the standing up and walking to the kitchen and the getting coffee and the coming back and the typing and typing and typing and hating and typing and loving and typing. Continue reading