Finished my draft of the summary for the short story submission window this September. I want to write one more story, then write a final version and the samples. I am very pleased with the plot, making it sophisticated for something so short. In fact, it startles me. In the past, my stories were so conservative, focusing on descriptions and character development like I had all the time in the world to write it. These days, I find myself stuffing my stories with more action and more plot, working character development into the details whenever I can.
Is there such a thing as too much story? I’ve asked that question before but never dived into it beyond a toe in the water. Some of the greatest works I’ve read, seen or played certainly did. Neon Genesis Evangelion was originally going to have two seasons minimum, but when it only got funds for one, the creators jam packed the first and only season with tons of story. The same is true of Xenogears, which was also likely influenced by Evangelion.
Man, Xenogears was pretty unbelievable. It’s hard to describe everything that occurs, but it dives into the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and other psychologists, somehow weaving itself around the concept of religion. All of this on top of hefty sci fi themes and influences. Originally the developer wanted five games but only got the green light for one, so he went all out.
Anyway, I feel like the Warhammer 40k series definitely touches on similar themes from time to time. It hints it, particularly during the Horus Heresy series. Almost anything fully psychological has the capacity to become a very long story.
On the flip side, it’s too easy to try and stick too much story in a format you simply do not have time for. Spider-Man 3, like I mentioned before, had a similar problem. There was material for two exceptional films shoved into one flick, and as a result the overall idea suffered. It was too much. Too many villains to develop, too little time to find out “Why do you want Peter Parker dead?” And as a result, a lot of Spidey fans missed out on the chance to see Venom portrayed amazingly, the Sandman given his due and the Green Goblin story arc satisfactorily concluded.
But I’m going to gamble it a bit. I’d rather write a story that keeps a reader on the edge of their seat than a piece that is slow from beginning to end. I think it’s easier to cut away from too much than to try and add more to so little. Hence, when I write stories, I’m going to bet like a Texan. Big stakes, game changing stakes. There’s nothing to lose considering that the worst they can do is tell me no. So why not make it huge?
I say, go for broke.