May have just dated myself with that question (anyone else remember those L'Eggs commercials of the early eighties?), lol. Anyway, I mentioned this topic a few weeks ago on the QueryTracker forum, but I've been thinking about it, so I'm bringing it up again. I'd LOVE some input from other writers out there (please, oh please comment? Pretty please? I need some insight.) Small bonus: if you submit a comment on the topic and follow my blog, you'll be entered to win your choice of four writing books: 1) Chris Baty's NaNoWriMo bible, otherwise known as NO PLOT, NO PROBLEM, 2) Anne Lamott's classic BIRD BY BIRD, 3) the incomparable Sol Stein's HOW TO GROW A NOVEL: THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES WRITERS MAKE AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM, or if you're thinking about writing paranormal or dark fiction, 4) ON WRITING HORROR, a handbook by the Horror Writers Association.
So, the question (well, three questions) concerns short stories:
Uno: Do you think they're necessary to a long-term career? They seem to be, especially in horror, especially when it comes to building a name for yourself, and also for telling an agent that you're serious and professional. For the longest time, I just haven't messed with them, figured I wasn't any good at the short form. But maybe I need to be. What do you think?
Dos: How long does it take you to write one? I know it varies from person to person, but I have a couple of short spec or horror stories percolating - and it just seems like I can't take the precious writing time and focus away from my full-length WIP to write them. So I'm curious as to how long it takes other writers to pen a short (including revisions.) A weekend? A week? One day? A month?
Tres: Does anyone out there have a short story writing & submission strategy? If so, what is it? What's your ideal submission cycle like? Do you strive to always have a certain number of pieces out on rotation at any given time? Do you use sites like Duotrope's Digest?
As for myself, I still just don't know. I have a story that's been tugging and tugging at me, but, again, if I'm writing, I want to spend the time finishing up my WIP. Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?