Friday, March 2, 2012


You know what I love about writing novels? One idea lasts a long time. In the case of my current novel, going on two years. Dan Brown took something like six years to put out the book after Da Vinci Code. You get one good idea, and then lots of time to develop it. I never appreciated that. Once you find that one idea, every day that you sit at the computer, the core of your story is already there waiting.

Short stories? Not so much.

Every three weeks, I need a new idea.

And I've never been one to be at a lack of ideas. I have tons of them. A word document full of dribbles and thoughts and glimmers and notes. 

But now that I actually have to sit down and flesh one out. One that has to have tension and stakes that get raised every sentence, and characters that leap off the page in 3D...

nothing works. 

I got nothing.

I sit at my computer hour after hour writing a few words, a few pages, trashing them, staring, starting over, trashing that, more staring.

I am wandering. I am trying to convince myself I am not lost. But I am definitely wandering.

Where do you come up with your ideas?


  1. That's why I don't write short stories. I actually find them harder.

    My ideas come from all different places. News stories, names, family history, wishful thinking.

  2. short stories...ouch. I don't think I could do those. They are the hardest I think. So much in so little. Good luck, I'm sure something will come.

  3. Short stories have always been really hard for me to write. I can never compress what I want to say in such a short space.

    Ideas come to me in the oddest places - I'll read something on the news and get an idea; I'll be driving in traffic and see something that sparks an idea; or going to sleep at night. I think looking for ideas tends to hamper our creativity. Instead, I would relax, try not to force it. Or maybe try some writing prompts.

  4. Short stories are very difficult. The whole thing has to be so efficient and compact. It definitely requires more discipline! Don't ever feel inadequate if you're wrestling with it.

    Where do I get ideas...? Life. Sometimes I take one little incident, like the way one person looks at another, or why the dog is barking. Or wonder where all those people in cars are driving to and why. And then after I write it I sort of don't end it. The story ends but you'll never know exactly what happened because life is like that. People don't always learn anything in my short stories but I'd like if they at least change a little.

    But trust yourself. You wrote well and you're a sensitive observer. You'll get it.

  5. I think you have to look to your life and to the lives of people around you for inspiration.

    Good luck finding your short story muse. :)

  6. My ideas come from music and walking.
    They come from reading a good book and wanting to know what happens next??

    I've written three books that started at the "finish point" - two from novels that I loved and one from a movie that I didn't like so much.