Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Friday, 16 November 2001

Poor Steven. My brother finds my stories depressing.

I'm not quite sure why my short stories tend not to have happy endings. Partly it's just a reaction to my former habits of not making things tough enough on my characters: Now I tend to make things so tough a happy ending is impossible. Partly I think it's just a mechanical thing: The story is already as long as I want it by the time I get to the Dark Night of the Soul, and trying to squeeze in a happy ending at that point would make it too long. So, I try to imply a future that, if not necessarily happy, at least offers some glimmer of hope.

I admit, though, that this most recent story doesn't offer a very bright glimmer.

I don't think the same thing will happen in novels, once I get to writing at at that length. In a novel there's room to wallow in the blackest "always darkest just before the dawn" scene and then still have the hero make the heroic effort that it takes to achieve success.

I guess I'll filter my stories just a bit, and avoid seeking Steve's comments on my most depressing ones.

I wrote the short-short that I'd been thinking of! It's 880 words, and I'm pretty pleased with it. It's very nearly ready to send out to editors. (In a story with only one scene there's only so much call for restructuring the whole story four times, the way I tend to do with longer stories.)

Kelly Searsmith and I have talked to some likely candidates for a new local writing group focusing on speculative fiction, and we've both gotten some tentative yeses. I hope it all comes together. The Clarion 2001 email critique group is great, but it would be especially nice to have a local group.


Philip Brewer's Writing Progress homepage