I am a novelist. I enjoy writing 70,000+ word stories. Maybe I am long winded or maybe I am just a natural born storyteller…whatever it is, I like writing long stories. So where then, do short stories fit into my writing life? I’ll tell you where…right alongside those longer verbal sonatas.
Short stories are a great way to practice the longer ones. I use short stories for a number of things, not the least of which is story building. I can use a short story to develop characters, plot lines and even scenes. The short story helps us writers take a trial run at a piece to see if it works before investing tons of time and typing into a trip into the beyond. The short story has many, many functions.
For me, I also use the short story to make myself pay attention to my writing. Now you might be tilting your head to the side and asking, eh? Let me explain…. A short story is just that, short. What better way to have to pay attention to your writing than by writing a story that truly has to have everything in it; 2000 words or less. The other day I found a contest that made that task even more difficult, a story of only 500 words…what a challenge!
When we are writing a novel it is easy to get carried away and shove in a lot of stuff that we don’t really need. If you make it a habit to write a short story now and again, it will keep it in the forefront of your mind that sometimes the needless stuff needs to be taken out in order for the actual story to be written. Trust me your editor will later thank you for whittling through your novel in the same way you have to your short stories.
So now and again, write a short story…it’s the universes’ way of making us get to the point and in the long run…writing them will help your novels get to the point too.
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