I have spent my writing time over the last couple of days working on a short story which hasn't worked. The short story is still a genre which baffles me. I can do short-shorts, blast an idea out in 500 words, but most of the contests I’m considering ask for about three times that, which is way beyond what I can get to at the moment.
There again, I had the same problem when I started attempting novels – the first few chapters would be ok, an interesting story sprinkled with witty one-liners, but then I’d find I had used all my ideas, lose the plot, so to speak, and end up waffling until finally realising it was all crap and giving up.
A couple of those abandoned in a desk drawer somewhere and I finally managed to put something of novel length together that I thought was far enough from rubbish to release on the world.
Practice, as they say, makes slightly better.
It's kind of a shame I haven't got to grips with it yet, because there's plenty of real life material for sf stories at the moment: two UK universities have been given research licences to start work creating human-animal hybrid embryos; along similar lines, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill currently going though Parliament will also allow the creation of "saviour siblings", essentially genetically engineered kids created to provide healthy tissue for a sick sibling.
Both of these things have been opposed by some Christian groups, but I'm more interested in the fact that, well, if a saviour sibling isn't a cool short sf character, I don't know what is. If I was a better writer, maybe I could do a nice, thought-provoking piece about that. I may yet give it a try anyway.
I'm probably more likely to write about the hybrid embryo that accidentally developed into... HeiferMan! Part man, part cow, Britain's latest super hero has the amazing ability to stand in fields for a long time, know when it's going to rain, and be slightly inconvenient to ramblers.
Well, practice, as they say...