Ever heard of the short and the long of a subject. Old people say it often: here comes the short and the long of it, meaning the entire story of whatever story is being told or generally the entirety of a thing. Well, writing has a short and long too. The short of it is easy to master…it’s the long of it that’s a bitch. Most beginner writers can master a few great pages. It’s the entire story or the entire book that presents a problem. I have several friends who can write a brilliant…four pages. Any story that goes beyond that is an incoherent mess. And there is nothing wrong with four great pages. Flash fiction is built on the short of it. But…if you want to make the leap to the long of it then you have to master the long of it. Practice. Practice. Practice. Learn to sustain conflict. Learn to write interesting characters. Learn the difference between plot and story. Learn everything you can cram into your head about sustaining drama, suspense, hurling towards climax, believable but challenged characters, the growth of characters, etc. Then incorporate these things into your writing. Be able to write the short and the long of it.