A man is driving in the middle of nowhere, say across a prairie, or desert, in the middle of the night when the check engine light goes on. Suddenly, all of the gauges light up, and the car starts sputtering and it's clearly not safe enough to drive, so the man pulls over to the shoulder in this desert, or prairie, expanse. He's pissed. He has somewhere he needs to be, but through his frustration and disappointment, he sees in the distance another car. Its taillights are on. He approaches slowly to see if anyone's in it. There isn't. He looks down at the the dirt.There are footprints. What are they doing there? Where do they lead?
That's what I'm looking to find out.
I've never written one before. In fact, until a few weeks ago, I didn't have much interest in novels, reading or writing them. With exception to one required class for my English major, I have mainly written poems. But recently, I imagined a scene that, when I started to build on it, didn't seem fit for a poem. I love the compression of a good poem, the obsessive detail worked into a well-written sentence. And there's a physicality to poetry that, I feel, prose lacks, and I miss this physicality when I read prose.. But this vision, its potential narrative, had too many moving parts to handle. Maybe a better poet could do it. But this narrative was too big.
Is the short story the right container for it? A novella? Or a novel? I want to know this, too, along with all of the reasons why this form is the appropriate one.