At first, I thought writing short stories would ultimately distract me from my novel projects, in fact they make your other projects stronger.
Here’s ten reasons why you should write short stories:
- Sharpen your skills
A short story is a perfect place to practice and to hone your craft. We all have strengths and weaknesses as writers. Some writers excel at dialogue but suck at setting and description or their plots rock, but their characters are flat and predictable. A short story offers us the opportunity to improve our weaknesses and have fun with our strengths.
2. Less pressure
When we write novels, we need to keep our wits about us. We need 60 coherent scenes, in the correct order that shows us the story. With a short story, there is less pressure.
3. Higher chances of published
Every writer needs to practice and a daily prompt is great, but when you turn that prompt into a short story you have something to enter, publish or stick up on the fridge. Prompts tend to remain in our notebooks; short stories become something you can use. Don’t stop with the prompts though. They help you find ideas.
4. Space away from other projects
Writing a novel is as challenging as it is thrilling. There are times when the words flow and the story works, then there are times when they don’t. That is when you write a short story.
5. More emphasis on words
Novels have space, short stories don’t. If you overwrite, this is a great way to shorten and strengthen your writing. When you must count, and evaluate each word, it changes the way you write.
They give you deadlines: There are hundreds, if not thousands of short story competitions. Use them to work towards your goals and deadlines.
6. Short-term goals
When we write novels, they can take months or even years. Short stories offer an opportunity to set short-term goals to keep us motivated and invigorated for the long-term goal achievement.
7. Expand on back-story
Writing short stories is a great way of getting to know your characters. Put them into a situation that you haven’t thought of before or that isn’t included in your book and see what they get up to. Or write that important event in their childhood that shaped them and changed their lives. You won’t necessarily use it, but it’s a great way to layer and explore a character.
This is my favourite part of writing short stories. If you always write in the third person, try first or even second person. If you have never written crime fiction, give it a go. If a scene from your novel isn’t working, change characters and write it as a short story from another character’s point of view.
Use a short story to explore a theme or an alternative ending to your scene or story. Change viewpoint, gender or genre. There are no rules.
10. A fresh perspective
Similar to point one – sharpening your skills, after you have wrote a short story it can motivate you to put more words down with a different and fresh perspective on your current or future projects.
Do you agree? Is there more advantages or any disadvantages to short stories for novelist?
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