Seven Good Reasons to Write Short Stories
Seven Great Reasons to Write Short Stories
- Writing short stories is a good way to learn the craft of fiction writing. With a very small investment you will learn how to put sentences together to tell a story. You will learn the basics of character creation, world-building, creating natural dialogue and continuity. Most importantly, you’ll learn if you actually like writing.
- Especially when you’re still in the early stages of learning how to write well, it’s much easier to get people to read your 3,000 word story than your 80,000 word novel.
- Since stories are easy to read and to judge on both their writerly and structural merits and shortcomings, they are the perfect length to workshop. Workshopping can give you feedback, that you can use to improve your craft.
- There may well be a market for your short stories. You can send them to editors who could purchase them for magazines or anthologies. They may even pay you money.
- It’s a time-tested way to start your writing career. Many writers have been discovered by editors within the pages of other publications. And short stories can help you start building a fan base. Awards you win as a short story writer will likely make it easier to sell your novel, not to mention, more lucrative.
- Short stories can be conceived, written, critiqued and rewritten within a very short span of time. Perfect for giving writing addicts a quick fix of attention, feedback, and appreciation.
- Short stories are the perfect length to adapt for different media. A comic book or movie can contain about as much information as contained in the average short story, whereas novels should probably be serialized for best effect.
Seven Reasons Not To Write Short Stories
- Writing skills you learn from writing short stories may not be transferable or at least, as effective in longer works. Brevity, conciseness, poetic language, obscurity and clever twists are often more effective in short stories than in novel length works. So you may be honing the wrong skills for long term success.
- Your remuneration for a short story sale will seldom exceed a couple hundred dollars, so the number of short stories you’d need to write and sell to top markets in a year is impractical for most people. One can count, on the fingers of one hand, the number of authors who make a living or have made one at any point in their careers, entirely from writing short stories. Better hone your lecturing and novel-writing skills and decide what you’re gonna do for your day job (it can be argued that it’s no easier to make a living as a novelist, but that’s a different list altogether).
- Many mind-boggling world-builders simply aren’t able to fit their visions into the format. So writing short stories may be a source of frustration and disillusionment – and frankly may waste a great deal of your time, which may be put to far better use as a novelist, or non-fiction writer, or a landscaper. Your inability to write good ones may convince you you’re not cut out for writing, when just the opposite may be true.
- Short stories tend to be stylistically sophisticated and less plot driven. So, skills that may put you at a disadvantage as a story writer could be very valuable as a novelist.
- Many – if not most – readers simply do not like short stories. They would turn away from the best short stories in the world to get swept up in a cheesy, pulpy adventure – especially if there are sequels.
- As a rule, short story collections sell poorly.
- Short stories bring you faster results. Quicker feedback can be tough if it’s negative. If you don’t have a pile of self-confidence, it may be easier and more enjoyable to lose yourself in a big dreamworld of your own creation than to hone a hundred glittering little gems. If writing itself is what gives you pleasure, then the less often you have to submit your work to public scrutiny, the less that pleasure will be potentially undermined. Novel writing gives you much more of a chance to get good before your joy is forced to withstand the enthusiasm-withering regard of the rest of the world.
I'm sure lots of you can think of arguments one way or another. Please, share!
About the Commenters.
James Van Pelt's The Diorama can be read at https://curiousfictions.com/stories/1609-james-van-pelt-the-diorama his blog is at http://jamesvanpelt.com/
Michael Skeet's Blog Quipu contains everything from hilarious reviews of novelty breakfast cereals to his terrific alternate history novel, Dixie's Land, in its entirety.