Friday, August 5, 2016

The Long and Short of Striving for Simple

It should come as a surprise to no one that my brain is a messy, disorganized place. I do my damnedest to tidy up. It just does not take. File cabinets explode. Accoutrements pile up in a heap. Yes, this photo really did happen and not just in my brain. All the alphabetized things in my best intentions get flung all over in a mental tornado of "Ooo! Look at all the cool stuff!" Complication and intricacy intrigue me. I suffer from the conviction that everything is related and intertwined. This makes me an everything plus the kitchen sink writer.

This is the long way of saying Ye Gods, please don't make me write short.

There's a reason I have only two short stories and one novella to my name. While I have 5 novels - 4 of which belong in series that are 5 or more books long. Long arcs come more naturally to me. I die a little inside each time flash fiction comes around on our topic calendar. Which isn't to say it's not worth doing - it is. Because while I strongly favor long form (novels), I think there's value in getting kicked out of my synaptic rut. Challenge the status quo and step outside the comfort zone. You know. All those pretty sunrise photo inspirational quote memes you scroll past on Facebook. Fact remains, writing short does not come at all naturally and I dread it every. Single. Time.

There is no plot so simple that I cannot complicate it past all reason. My favorite word while plotting is 'AND'.  It is for that reason that it's worth forcing myself into short form from time to time. You bet it pinches. But the practice of reining in my woeful tendency to run off at the computer keyboard and pruning ideas waaaaaaaay back is a good (if ouchie) reminder that sometimes it really is best to keep it simple, stupid. Even if I have to force it.

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