This short story is quickly approaching the word count for a novelette, and at least two developments still lurk: discovery and resolution. At sixteen pages, single spaced except between paragraphs, the story is anything but short.
I wish I could write short, direct fiction — a flash of intrigue with a twist — but even at the start of a story I have more characters than most short stories I’ve read. All these characters make trouble, and love to bang into one another. None of them wants to cooperate with the others, and they all think they’re the star, which is how they horned in at the start of the development. It would be so much easier to write a novel length story and let them have at it, rushing about, being dramatic and just creating mayhem that I can experience vicariously from the safety of my chair. Unfortunately, striking out with novel-length stories, and expecting any attention, is about as likely to be successful as a spectacularly shaped snowflake thinking it will be noticed in a blizzard. “I’m so shapely! I’m so sparkly! I’m so … buried.”
Short stories are somewhat easier fictional baby-steps only because each one doesn’t take quite as long to write as does a novel, and they can be used to establish a fiction footprint — a tiny footprint, granted — a footprint that can be made with greater ease than by tossing an 80,000 word manuscript onto a publisher’s slush pile: a needle in a stack of needles. Unfortunately, a short story takes just as much planning, if not more, than does a novel. There aren’t as many words in which to hide inconsistencies, loose ends and oh, so clever reader-distractions. The writing must be surgical, yet satisfying. It’s also supposed to be short.
I have hope that the editing removes the flab — and that hope could be a good title for another story: The Pandora Delusion. I can almost see it, the hopeful main character and antagonist at odds. The main character’s friend giving advice, and the comical busybody providing an amusing distraction. Oh, and the victim. Mystery/thrillers (what I like) must have at least one victim. Then there’s the annoying person who gets in the way. See? Already too many characters.
Must. Try. Harder.