“I think there are short story ideas, and there are novel ideas.” -- Carrie Vaughn in The Long and Short of ItToday’s quote reminded me of my first online writing course. Due to the size of the class, the instructor insisted on a maximum of 500 words for all writing assignments. Most of the students struggled with this limit. It wasn’t because their story ideas were bad, they were too big. Their tales couldn’t be told in less than 500 words.
I had a pretty good idea of what I could and couldn’t do because of my study of flash fiction. Based on what I’d read, flash fiction worked best when it dealt with problems that could be resolved by a small number of characters in a short time span. I kept that in mind for the assignments and for my own stories. Then I read Zoom! Writing a Lifetime in a Page or Two by Bruce Holland Rogers. In it, he provided ideas for writing short short stories that cover long periods of time. It made me rethink what I thought I knew about writing short fiction.