>start writing a short story based off some character or scenario
>it evolves into a way-too-ambitious exploration of questions I have no sort of answer to
every fucking time
anyone else have trouble keeping works small? i feel like my work is always unfinished unless I dig deeper into the material and it reaches a point where the whole thing just becomes confused and unfinishable
Yep, I usually come up with some idea in an attempt to create something short and quickly-digestible only to see it better fit into a much longer narrative. As far as your problem goes, I would say not every question needs to be answered.
This happens because you don't have a goal with the narrative. Have a goal, make all the questions go around the final, that is the presentation of the "big theme".
Like >>7569797 said, nor all of the questions have to be answered, but the end, what you want to say with the story has to leave to the reader some evidences about the things that you showed. Let them do the equation.
I don't have that issue, because if its a short story that get longer, then the treatment becomes a Novel.
My problem is that all my short short stories have that typical twist ending.
I don't know if twist ending is the right phrase, as it seems to imply a M Night Shyamalan ending. I think its more like the O'Henry ending or the Poe endings.
Endings like that do lock the door, but I wish I can have an ending that ends the story without that typical ending.
Oh well, need to keep trying and collecting rejections.
>thinking fiction is supposed to answer questions
>thinking even /lit/core greats like Pynchon, DFW, or whoever can actually answer definitively any of the universal questions that drive us crazy and that fiction can only aspire, likewise, to ponder
>thinking said greats didn't merely restate these same universal questions, over and over, but in original, aesthetically pleasing, and nuanced ways—proposing narrative non-answers that offer insight, but which are by no means final, or even real (it's fiction)
>being this much of a pleb
The cool thing about shorts is that you don't need to flesh out the character. The reader does not need to know all of his background, but I do find it helpful to flesh out the character deeply.