Learning How to Write and Enjoy Short Stories

Short stories I love

During the first semester of my last year at Baylor, I took a Creative Writing Prose class (the same semester I took Creative Writing Poetry—an extremely busy course load for someone who procrastinates always!) where we wrote several short stories and workshopped them in class. While I thrived in my poetry course, I couldn’t, for the life of me, write anything of substance in prose. I wrote three stories in that workshop—two about different Polynesian girls growing up and navigating their way through a colonized world, and one about an incarcerated man writing letters to his son before his execution. I was unsurprisingly most invested in the last of the three, but even then, couldn’t truly find a voice throughout the story.

My sister is one of the best fiction writers I know (believe me, it’s annoying how brilliant she is) and she’s written short stories for as long as I can remember. In contrast, I found that poems were the style of writing I was best at. Because I boxed myself into mainly one category (does sportswriting also count?), I never attempted to write short stories after my terrible experiences in class. However, yesterday while I was napping (sleeping is good for some things!), I had the idea that I can and must write a short story based on an experience I had. I wanted to dramatize the situation and include conversations with several important characters based on people in my own life. I only have five pages of story written, but I haven’t felt this excited or attached to a short story ever in my life! I’m still trying to plot the narrative and figure out what my ending is, which I’m not even nervous about. I was probably inspired by all of the short stories Megan’s written and let me read over the past few months or the collections she’s shared with me (like the snippets above from If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi), but either way, I’m eventually going to finish this piece and I think I’ll love it!

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