Do you like to write short stories? According to dr. google, short stories are anywhere from 1000-15,000 words long. Flash fiction, which is what I post here on my blog, is less than 1000 words long.
Now, depending on who you are, you might think that writing short stories is meaningless or a waste of time. Wrong. Even if these stories do not see the light of day you are never wasting time by writing. So, let’s go through some of the reasons why you SHOULD write short stories!
- It’s a sure way to find your voice. Are you writing a certain way because your favorite author writes like that or is it because it’s your actual voice? Drawing inspiration from other authors is great, but don’t let their style overshadow you. I love Sophie Kinsella’s style, and while I want to incorporate some of her techniques, I don’t want to copy her.
- Short stories are a great way to practice writing in different POVs- first, second, and third person (either limited or omniscient). Which style do you prefer to write in? Which fits your chosen genre better? Do you need practice when it comes to a certain POV?
- It’s easier to get someone else to look over a short story and give you feedback. This is a good way to see what recurring mistakes you’re making (too many/missing commas, filler words, etc). It’s also helpful to see what your strengths are. Beta readers can be hard to find, but if you ask someone to look over a 5000-word story, they’re much more likely to say yes and provide helpful feedback.
- It’s also a good way to get deeper into your WIP. Create a series of short stories set in your character’s world. Try creating deeper backstories for your side characters by writing short stories focused only on them. These side characters may only show up once in your WIP, but spending time in the world you created will make it feel more real for your readers.
- It’s a perfect way to practice different genres and world building. Create a fantastical world for a 1000-word story. Write in 19th-century dialogue. Put in effort for the story but know that it is simply for practice. There is no pressure to be perfect!
- You don’t have to do anything with these stories, but don’t consider this “wasted time” either! You’re practicing your craft. You can use short stories as a break from your current WIP if you’re bogged down with a scene/character. You can write with the intention of compiling an anthology or use your short stories as freebies for your followers/email subscribers. Your readers want to get deeper into the world you’ve created.
- You’re never wasting time by writing. If you’re not sure where to start, look up writing prompts/flash fiction or short story challenges. Ask a friend to give you an opening line. Lastly, have fun and explore!
Convinced yet? I’m clearly a fan of short stories, but I hope that at least a few of these reasons sound valid 😉 Try it out! If you’re looking for a community that writes clean flash fiction (under 500 words) check out the #pleasantwordschallenge on Instagram!