Author David Ebenbach provides wonderful insight on the short story form in this article. He says, among other things: “a short story is not just a mini version of a novel, that in fact they’re totally different forms of writing… if you’re going to write a short story, you have to care about the tiny things. Would your character really wear turquoise shoes? When she takes her partner’s hand, how tightly does she hold it, and for how long? What exactly does the neighbor’s dog’s bark sound like? What does your character do with his coat when he takes it off? What words does he use to greet his parents when they arrive for a visit—and are those parents late, early, or on time? All of this matters a lot.”
I happen to think this matters in both forms of writing but I understand his point about the brevity of the short story form bringing those moments into sharper focus.
So here’s a Challenge, pick a small detail and build a story that orbits that moment, illuminating it. Don’t run ahead of or lag behind that moment, be drawn to it like it’s gravity, and write. Think you can do that?