Fear

Short stories are my first love. I love the compact feel of a plot spread over a couple of pages, every word getting the story closer to the end, preferably at high speed.

Neil Gaiman and Stephen King are my short story heroes.

I, unfortunately, am not very good at writing them. But that has never stopped me from trying anyway. The funny thing is that when I’m writing a short story I tune in to a very strange part of me.

Let me explain a bit: In my humble opinion there are two kind of persons.

People who jump in the pool right away & People who walk around it, assessing the temperature of the water, dipping a toe, or use the stairs.

I’m a jumper-inner.

Except when writing short stories.

I have trouble getting in and out fast, and linger to0 long on words that are not supposed to be there in the first place. I’m also sort of afraid of the stories that end up on the page.

When writing a long story, I feed on my grown-up fears. Which are of course little fears (the fear of eating alone/ the fear of not having enough time).

When I write short stories, I feed on my childhood fears which are HUGE. (the neighbors are plotting to kill us/ pigeons are demons/ the dunes are alive and eat children in Summer).

My trick is to write a short story first and when I type ‘The End’ immediately move on to novel drafting so that the childhood fears stick a while longer.

 

Those fears are the ones that come knocking in the middle of the night.