I set out every story to be novel length. I really do. then something happens about three thousand words in: I lose my patience with my own story. "Let's get to the good stuff" I say. Enough of this exposition and dialogue that goes nowhere, let's cut this thing down to the bone and keep this story lean and mean.
Story after story this happens, till I discover I'm working exclusively in the short story formal. Nearly all of the stories in my first collection, Guns, Gods & Robots started out as novelettes or proper long form books. Then by virtue of editing or by wanting to get to dessert first, I ended up with seven shorts and novelettes.
I thought this was a bad thing. Why couldn't I just sit down and write the novel I've been wanting to write? Why are all of my big ideas ending up less than 10,000 words? What am I doing wrong?
In thinking through this challenge of my shrinking stories, I considered all of my favorite media: books, movies, music and video games. For me, something short is always preferred and because if it's short, it makes it easier to enjoy for a second time.
Perhaps that's why I love flash fiction. Its world building in the fewest words possible. The challenge can be incredible at times and I love it.
Of course there's always exceptions. For every The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, there's The Stand by Stephen King. For every Super Metroid there's a Final Fantasy.
So now my writing mantra is to simply write until the story is done. No more or no less. If someone wants to label the story by its word count, so be it. But I will no longer think poorly of any of my most ambitious ideas ending up as short stories.
Now let me get back to writing my first novel.