why do short stories exist?

i’ve never been a great lover of writing short stories. possibly because of not very good at it. it’s definitely a skill that i have a great admiration for.

i was reminded of this over the past month when i embarked upon writing one.

it wasn’t on purpose.

i’ve been working on a screenplay for some time with a certain premise that shall not here be elaborated upon.

and alas, for some reasons unbeknownst to science and scientology, the file became corrupted and for some reason, i did not have a backup. i thought i did but (alas) the backup was just a copy of the corrupted file.

which means having to start all the way over.

and in some ways, not necessarily a bad thing as my greatest concern for this particular screenplay was whether it had too much excess.

then i learned that the Chicago Tribune hosts an annual, free-to-enter short story contest. i decided to re-work my now-MIA screenplay as a short story, as this would provide a good structural backbone for me to rewrite upon when i start that process.

so while i am terrible at writing short stories, it was a great exercise. whether i win anything or not is quite beside the point as i truly have nothing to lose (did i mention it was free?).

of course, i waited until the last day to “finish” and “submit” it, but seeing as i had only started writing it about 30 days before, i consider this a tremendous feat, especially when it ended up being around 30 pages long and just under the maximum 8,000 words by a couple hundred.

having done this, it makes me want to make a habit of writing a short story at least once a year just for the exercise and discipline of it. i feel like it helped me hone in on some aspects of storytelling that are easy to ignore when working on longer works.

so, to those out there who are gifted in the short story-writing-telling department, i commend and applaud you. i will never fully be one of you, but i have a newfound appreciation for the art form.

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