Short Stories

I have operated a bit backwards when it comes to this writing thing. Rather than submitting to hundreds of literary magazines first and waiting for a pinch from agencies for representation, I was scouted at a writing workshop by an agent and have been navigating the world of representation ever since. After recently emailing my novel to a prospective agent, she asked me if I had submitted any of the short stories she’d read (that I wrote in graduate school) to literary magazines. My answer was no. I have few pieces published in newspapers and online news sources from my years in journalism, but unfortunately I had never considered the literary magazine route as a necessary step. With my work and independent business schedule, it was also difficult to edit shorter pieces while I was finishing edits for the novel. Backwards huh? Well I took her question as a recommendation and finished a short story (15 pages, 6,000 words) this week (!!). It took me two drafts but I enjoyed the process. It is admittedly harder to do since rather than 400 pages of opportunity to create full understandings of characters, plot, etc.; a writer is forced to scale everything down to its absolute core, its bare bones and rather than making flesh around those bones with context, subplots and poetic prose, the bones are to be made as BIG as possible. No flesh. Yet, I think I am going to like this business of big-boned stories. The first was certainly a fun process.