I've been submitting short stories. I've also been reading short stories that have been published, cos you know, it's good for me.
I know that I am a lazy writer. I take too long to get started, I leave things for forever while I figure things out, I am way too shy to "bother" people who I need to interview for certain details, and I'd rather scrub the toilets of Grand Central with a toothbrush than edit. Okay, well maybe not that, but I'd certainly rather clean the litter box than edit.
But reading some published short stories makes me want to puke. For real. Okay, I know I didn't get some fancy writing degree from some fancy writer college. No, I am not a graduate of the Iowa City Writer's Group. I did not get my M-freakingFA from Vermont.
I've got inferiority complex to spare. But some of these stories! I can't tell why they were published. I suppose it is a matter of style. Some of them are beautifully written, gorgeous phrasing, the words flowing like silk. But you can't follow the damn plot, you get the characters all confused because there is so much pretty stuff floating around, the people get lost. Where's the beef?
It could be that my writing style is very straightforward, very close to the bone and I don't dress up the ugly in a pretty dress. I understand the mechanics of cleaning up the writing, balancing out the prose and maintaining a properly arching plot line. But I can't write pretty just to be writing pretty.
But I did find some stories that helped. They had the same style as mine - true, bare bones, people dealing with stuff, usually badly, but trying their best. You know, like real people.
Thor sez: I think you should write stories about...uh, these brothers...who are cats...and one is brave and goes outside and hangs out with the raccoon gang and the other is a scaredy cat and they could have adventures!