(Quick disclaimer this works very well for me but that does not mean this will help you. Always take any advice you hear with a pinch of salt)
Greetings fellow mammals today I would like to point out the numerous benefits and reasons why you should be writing short stories. I know a novel is more traditional and saying you’re writing a novel sounds better then “I’m writing a short story.” (I thought so to until I took a chance and started a year and a half ago) Here are 10 reasons why you should write a short story today.
1. Find your writing voice.
2. Become a master at outlining.
3. Learn to develop characters.
4. Revising and Editing become easy.
5. Finally finish a book!!!
6. Identify your writing weakness.
7. Perfect for new writers.
8. Get finished faster.
9. Leaves more time for reading.
10. Writing novels will be easier.
Please pull up a chair pour yourself a cup of cocoa and please enjoy…
1. Find your writing voice
When I first started writing books a lot went wrong. Sitting down at the computer I did not know what prospective to write in. Do I write in the main character’s head or have a narrator tell the story? Then I had to find my writing voice.
Finding your writing voice takes time and lots of practice. By writing a short story it’s easier to fix mistakes and get into a flow. You can try different writing styles and see what works best for you. Experiment with the advice you hear and read. Discover which genre fits you the best.
Practice makes perfect so why not practice and get results faster? When comparing what kind of book to write why not start small? Is there really anything to lose writing a short story?
2. Become a master at outlining
No matter how much you read about plot or chapter outlines there will always be mistakes. However with practice outlining becomes second nature. Another benefit to short stories is you can write multiple stories in a short amount of time.
If an important part of a plot outline is overlooked there it takes time and effort to set the plot straight. With time and experience writing endings and climaxes becomes second nature.
Chapter outlines require quite a bit of detail to ensure your story has substance. Do you know what to add so individual chapter don’t get boring? Without enough details you stare at the page and wonder what else it needs. (I have done this more than once) By splitting a short story into parts or even small chapters you can develop the confidence to finish a book.
3. Learn to develop characters
Character development is not easy no matter what. You have to invent childhoods, fears, dreams, ambitions, family, friends and weaknesses. With short stories you have to show their personality faster. If you choose to write more than one short story the more characters you need to develop and the better you will get.
In a hundred or more words you have make the reader understand everything about your character. If you choose to write multiple short stories about one character they will evolve more naturally making characters in bigger works such as novels and novellas easier. Try to learn what a character needs to come alive on the page. Who are you ready to write about right now?
4. Revising and Editing made easy
After you finish the first draft it’s time to roll up your sleeves and begin deciding what stays and what goes. This just like every other process is a skill you need to develop in time. So why not experiment and see what happens?
Do you need to change you ending or is the middle a little boring? Revising is quite hard at first. You spend all this time on writing only to reshape and fix. (Sometimes what needs to be changed will elude you for a while) However you are the boss so change only what you want.
Editing can also be rather difficult. All of that time only to read through and cut out small sentences or larger chunks. (This can be rather hard after all that time spent reaching word counts and beautiful describing sunsets) With a short story the process of revising and editing becomes easier.
5. Finally finish a book!!!
I have been writing since I was thirteen years old and after four years of trying I finally finished a book! It was a short story that I decided to start after I got stuck on my novel.
That feeling if saving the word file and turning off the computer is not something I will quickly forget. All of the hard work seems worth it even if no ones else reads it. You created a world with people and struggles that can do anything.
I am sure finishing a novel feels even more rewarding but sometimes we are not quite ready for something that involved. Quietly think a the story you would most like to read then spend a day or two bringing it to life. Who knows maybe your short story could be turned into a novel later?
6. Identify your writing weakness
Every writer has a weakness they have to overcome. Some writer’s may not know what theirs is. By actually writing (and finishing) your book weaknesses will reveal themselves.
Do you struggle with outlining? Character development? Descriptions? Deciding on climaxes? Knowing your ending? Editing? Revising? Changing your mind?
Don’t worry about any of these things and just write. Take baby steps and fix things one at a time. By experimenting you will learn what it takes and how to get better. Would you rather have to fix a 40,000 word book or ones that’s only 100 to a 10,000 words?
7. Perfect for new writers
As a new writer you are filled with a mixture ambition and fear. My advice is start writing a short story and see if it’s for you. The fear of writing is what often stops us from completing and sharing the wonderful works of unique imagination that no one else can create. Every book is different no matter no matter how many similarities there are yours will be different.
If you are experiencing any doubt then just try a flash fiction piece only 100 to 1,500 words to start. Try to put every ounce of emotion into those few words. If it doesn’t quite seem right then start revising and editing until the words come to life before your eyes.
Sometimes as new (and experienced) writers have multiple ideas at a time. With short stories you can write as many as you want in shorter amount of time. There is no limit to how many you can write at a time. (Although I stick to just a few at first) Reach for the stars and write something unusual. The sky is the limit! (Unless you’re going to write Sci Fi)
8. Get things done faster
For most people time is always of the essence. Getting things done faster is something we all look for. By writing short stories the time spent writing is decreased dramatically. You can finish a first draft in a day or week depending on the word count.
I can finish a first draft in a day or two with my mysteries. It takes a few more weeks to finish the book and a bit longer to edit. (Depending on how much free time I have) In only a year I finished six roughly 10,000 word short stories after four years of writing and never finishing anything.
9. Leaves more time for reading
You can’t be a writer without having a love of reading. All of us readers have endured the struggle of finding time to read. With more free time the more you can read. Another perk of being a writer is you always have to read in order to get better. (An excellent answer for when someone says you’re reading to much)
The more we read the better our ideas become. Yes you do need to be careful not to copy other books of the genre you write in. That does not mean stop reading the books that inspire you the most. Every book is different so don’t be to worried about similarities.
10. Writing novels will be easier
(No I have not finished a novel yet) There are several ideas for novels floating around in my head at the moment. A year and a half ago I was writing a novel and not getting very much done. Since perfecting my craft I now know that when I finish my series of short cozy mysteries I will be ready to finish my first novel.
Any and all talent requires patience and practice. By devoting sometime to perfecting the craft you can write with more confidence and ease. My advice is take a day or two write a short story. What’s the worst that can happen?
So to conclude this chat I do hope these tips will help you complete your novel, novella, short story or any other book you have hidden away inside your head. Until next time fellow mammals!