Never Say Never

The universe loves to play practical jokes on me. At least I know it’s listening!

Example 1: All through university, while I was studying the hard sciences of biology, chemistry and physics, I would make comments like “Communications? Who would ever get a degree in communications? That’s not a real subject.”

What am I doing now? Communications, of course.

[This phenomenon is not limited to me. You know what my husband used to make fun of when he was a landscaper? Basket-weaving. And you know what his favorite course was went he went to art school a few years later? Uh, huh. You guessed it.]

Example 2: On this very blog, I have stated how much I hate short stories. This is not meant to offend those who write short stories. It is merely a reflection of my insatiable addiction to books. I can’t get enough.

Give me a massive, epic story set over three, four, eight books, or, better yet, a series of character-driven novels that I imagine can go on forever, as long as the protagonist never figures out how she stupidly gets herself into all these bad situations. I fall in love with characters, settings, secondary characters, the bizarre workings of an alternate universe… and I don’t want to leave. I’m far more likely to dive into a book as thick as my thigh (and I don’t have skinny thighs, I tell ya) than I am to step timidly into a novella.

I once started reading a collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors, Walter Jon Williams, and as fantastic as the writing was, I couldn’t finish one story. Not one! I think it’s a mental block, something telling me that this is too short. Just as soon as I fall in love with the characters and the world, they will be whisked away and never seen again. I can’t set myself up for such heartbreak.

And then agent Pooja Menon tweets this great post about ‘Breaking the Deadly Loop of the Debut Writer‘ by Rati Mehrotra, and I decide Fine! I’ll write some short stories and try to get them published. You know what? I’ve discovered I love writing short stories. They have all the tight storytelling and pacing of an hour long drama teleplay, with the added benefit of internal monologue and a chance to really show off my prose. Now, I’m tearing through my stockpile of ideas, brain buzzing with even more new ideas, as I write short stories in all my favorite genres from SF to Fantasy and Horror. It’s so much better than querying.

Thank you, Universe, for teaching me another lesson.

Thanks for reading! More posts on books, film, and writing can be found on my website at Lorel Clayton Author.

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