Why I'm Sticking with Short Stories in 2019

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Photo via Pixabay
One of the most interesting lessons I've learned is that writing a short story is nothing like writing a novel. I mean, sure, you are all probably rolling your eyes and shouting out "duh" at the computer screen. The reason I point this out is that I've had my hand in writing novels (horrible novels, mind you, but I did try) and the past two years I've devoted myself to the short story.

I came across an article by The Write Practice blog called "5 Reasons Why You Should Write Short Stories" and a couple of the reasons stuck with me  - it keeps you in a regular writing habit. This is true, my writing habit is far more disciplined when I'm writing short stories.

Another point that jumped out at me is that short stories help you practice writing. Writing short stories allow me to find areas of my writing that need work. Whether it's my telling and not showing, my shallow character name choices, my lack of inciting incidents, or my weak beginnings, short stories reveal the spots that need work.

In addition, writing short stories allow me to comfortably experiment with new genres of writing. It also allows me to put aside stories and start fresh with others without an enormous sense of guilt. Like a buffet, I'm allowed to pick and choose what I want of an enormous display of gourmet food rather than ordering one expensive plate.

I'm fully aware though that one day I'll want to start a novel (in fact, I would be lying if I didn't admit there may be a novel idea waiting to be called forward). I'm not sure exactly when I'll be ready for that novel and maybe the right idea hasn't hit me yet but for 2019, I'm sticking with the short.

Have you dabbled in short stories? What did you learn?


Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--99% of my writing has been creative nonfiction, so on the rare occasions I've written short stories (only 5 or so), it's only because an inspiring idea thunderbolted into my head.

I've learned that tightening the word count is crucial when it comes to short stories. Just like when writing poetry, there's no room for unneeded fluff.

Good luck as you continue to kick butt in 2019 as a writer...

Theresa Boedeker said...

Short stories are easier to finish than longer works. Which mean I can write a draft in one day and finish it before I am to tired of it.

Pamela Kenney said...

What I like about short stories is that I can see an end result in a short period of time. With a novel, it will be months before you see a finished product but with short stories, they are finished very quickly. And I agree with you Nicole, it's easy to try out different genres with short stories.

KAlan said...

Short story writing is, indeed, a completely different experience from novel writing. What I once assumed would be an exercise in writing a "story per chapter" became a much more complex mapping process during my first few novels. This is a good experience, but it can interrupt the flow of creativity. With a short, my attention is constantly on the theme and the message I want to convey, not on whether I contradicted myself in Chapter 2.

Nicole Pyles said...

@Sioux - I totally agree! No fluff allowed in short stories.

@Theresa - Absolutely! I thin that's why I'm so drawn to them lately.

@Pamela - Definitely - being able to see the finished product makes it so much easier.

@Kalan - Oh absolutely - my lack of plotting in advance isn't exactly a problem with short stories but I know it would be for novels!

Renee Roberson said...

I've rediscovered a love for writing short stories, too! I think much of it has to do with what Theresa said--I can work on them a bit and not have to wade through so many pages that I get tired of them. Plus, you can get so creative with the short form. I wish you continued joy in writing new drafts this year!

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