Are you pondering the pros and cons of writing short stories? In this post, we’ll explore 12 more reasons to write short stories.
I first wrote about reasons to write short stories in 2017. Please read it here: 10 Awesome Reasons For Writing Short Stories. In this post, we’ll discuss even more reasons to write short stories.
Whenever I speak about writing so many people immediately say, “I want to write a book.” It is always followed by a ‘but’, but rarely, “I think I’ll try a short story first.”
Anyone who knows about running ultra-marathons knows there is training involved. You don’t just wake up and run an ultra-marathon on a whim. You train first, right?
So many people who want to write a book haven’t written in years, or some even never, but they expect to sit down and write a flawless 80 000-word novel. Just like the marathon runner needs to train, we as writers, need to train as well and short stories are a great way to do that.
You can start with a novel, of course, but break it down. Write in scenes. Make it easy for yourself, but let’s look at why you should write short stories and how they can help you improve as a writer.
Even More Reasons To Write Short Stories
1. Hone your skills:
A short story is, well short. The reduced word count makes it more manageable. Making changes, experimenting and taking risks is a little easier because if you get it wrong or if it doesn’t work you’ll only lose a few hundred words, not a few thousand.
2. Learn to cut:
The reduced word count helps you to decide what to cut and what to keep. There is no better way to learn what is important to the story than a reduced word count. It forces you to look past the prose.
3. Finds your focus:
Strings of beautiful sentences will make you happy, but sometimes we are so in love with those beautiful strings we forget that they must also advance the story. A reduced word count forces you to re-examine and re-evaluate every word. Choosing one sentence over the other helps you to choose only those sentences that really do their job.
4. Teaches you about scenes:
Short stories can be compared to scenes in a novel. This does depend on the length of the short story, but if you struggle with scene structure, a short story is a great way to learn.
5. Helps you identify the story or scene goal:
When you have an unlimited word count it is easy to fall into the trap of adding multiple scene goals or overloading the scene. Once you have a reduced word count it is easier to narrow your focus.
Going off on a whim and making major changes to your novel can be great, but it can also create unintended problems. A short story is a good vehicle to use for experimenting with your characters and setting before making decisions about your novel.
7. Explore character:
You can use a short story to explore the role of a minor character or to test out mannerisms for a major character. You can make your character behave in a different way, make him or her lose control or act in a way that he won’t necessarily in the book.
8. Showcase your work:
A short story collection is a great way to build up an audience and showcase your work, without having to publish parts of your manuscript. You can start introducing readers to your world and your characters. It may also be fun to add prequels after you are done with the book, but perhaps not done with the world.
Short Story competitions are a fun way to keep busy, meet deadlines and hone your skills. You might even win and that is a publishing accolade you can add to any query letter.
10. Author platform:
Every writer regardless of whether you self-publish or publish with a traditional publisher needs an author platform. Most writers wonder what to write about if they don’t want to write about writing. Short stories are a great way to build up a readership.
When we are working on a big project a break can be a good idea. Short stories offer a way to keep writing and stay in your story but take some pressure off.
A short story can be written in one sitting. It’s a great way to get your writing done and it feels good to complete a project.
AND ONE MORE
13. Writing Community:
There are many short story writing communities. Joining a writing community is a wonderful way to learn and make writing friends.
If you have any queries, please mail me at email@example.com.
Resources For Short Story Writers:
- How To Show And Not Tell In Short Stories – Workbook
- The Short Story Checklist – Workbook
- Short Cuts – Course
by Mia Botha
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Top Tip: If you’re looking for a course, sign up for Short Cuts.