I've sent my two short stories off to the Litmus Anthology fiction editors (not to myself obviously: that would just be silly) and now wait to see if either of them is any good and/or if they even qualify as 'short stories'. After some lovely feedback on both stories from my wonderful friends Lottums and Laura I am slightly more confident that I have in fact managed to write a couple of self-contained pieces within that horribly tiny word limit. Yay!
In my last rant - I mean, blog - I stated that I only ever seem to write fantasy. And yet, just to prove myself wrong, I seem to have not written fantasy for my second of the Litmus submissions. I wish I could provide some reason why I did this but I really have absolutely no idea. As with the first story (now called 'Blood in the Sand', for want of anything better) I started off with an image: a market. For the second story (now called 'Buying Time') I started off with a scarlet ribbon tied to a tree.
I have come to the (half-baked) conclusion that in order for me to write a short story I need to start with an image rather than a character or an event, like I would with a longer piece. Because it seems to me - and I could be completely wrong in this - that a short story is in itself just an event. A huge, life-changing event perhaps, but only one single event nonetheless.
My second poorly-thought-out conclusion is that there is a reason why I don't only write in the fantasy genre and why I am capable of writing something which could possibly exist within the realms of possibility and/or doesn't defy the laws of physics. Given that the tiny interactions of every day life which seem to make up most of literary fiction really do tend to bore me, I think I must still surmise that I am only able to write that which could never happen to me rather than what could never happen to anyone. This, therefore, includes historical fiction I suppose.
This might go a little towards way to explaining why I love Jane Austen despite the decided lack of spies, explosions, magical powers, battles and secret organisations. The world of Persuasion could never happen to me thus it interests me as a story. On the other hand it is possible for me to witness a hot air balloon accident and then be the victim of a stalking. Unlikely but possible. Therefore, no thank you, Mr McEwan, it's not for me.
I think I've ranted long enough.
Now I must wait to see which of the two stories the editors will choose. Nail-biting all round, methinks.