I am supposed to be editing my WIP which at the moment is, quite frankly, an uphill struggle. My mind keeps drifting to short story ideas that are bouncing around in my head... and I've realised the way I write is changing.
Life, of late, has become pretty hectic. It's harder for me to find unbroken chunks of time to concentrate. Where I used to be able to just focus on my writing, I now have to switch in and out of writing mode.
In the past I have always lived and breathed the stories I was writing until they were finished - the characters staying in my head and talking to me late into the night, inspiring/nagging me to carry on with their lives in the morning... I'm no longer able to do that (although sometimes the characters don't quite understand that and they follow me to work the next day!). As a result I find myself writing more and more short fiction - most of it will never be good enough to see the light of day, but at least I am writing, and some of it (I hope) will develop into something stronger with the aid of some rigorous feedback and editing.
I find the same thing is happening to the way I read. I am reading more short fiction and novellas than I have before. Books have always been my escape from the real world. I would love sitting down with a novel, getting to know the characters and following them on their journey. Now, I find I lack patience - I prefer a faster pace, more drama, more intense writing... and a quick resolution. I thought I was just getting fussy in my old age - putting down novels after only a couple of chapters, sometimes because I've failed to engage with either story or characters but, more often that not, it's because the pace is simply too slow.
Perhaps, if I only have half an hour at the end of the day to spend doing the the things I love, I just want that experience to be as fulfilling as possible?
So now I am trying to apply that thinking to my writing. Perhaps my readers feel the same way as me. I'd like to them to grab them at the start of a story and not let go until the end. And I think I can do that with short stories.
When I get back to editing my existing novel I shall keep the same thing in mind... if there is only enough time to read a chapter I want that chapter to be as pacy and dramatic as possible.
Now then, back to the dilemma of which short story to write next...evil...or haunting?