But I want to write a novel, you say. Short stories are boring. I really want to follow a character around and see him or her grow. Short stories are – well – too short for that.
And there is a bit of truth in it. Short stories are short. And you can’t lose yourself in them for hours at a time.
Yet they still pack a punch, if they are good. They can show the total transformation of a character. They can leave a stronger impact than a whole novel.
Short stories also make great teasers for your novels; and they often serve as seeds for larger tales, novels or even series. Remember that Anne McCaffrey’s hugely successful Pern series came from one single short story? Bet you didn’t know that.
Then there is an entirely other layer why short stories are important for every writer:
There is no better way to hone the writing craft than creating short stories. You’re down to elementals if you want to tell a full story in a couple of pages. There is no room for fluff, no waffling, no extra words. I’ve run flash challenges for a few years with a word limit of 200. And we got some real gems during that time. And yes, I had to cut words every single time.
In short stories, every word counts. That means every word has to work harder. It has to express exactly what you mean. In turn, you learn more words and how to use them well.
And the three essential elements you absolutely need in a short story are also present in a novel, except that they happen repeatedly and to different characters during the tale. Writing short stories can give you clarity on all three.
So I want to encourage you to try your hand on short stories – they are faster to write, easier to edit and they will help you get better in the craft. I’ll get to some tapping about the reluctance to write short stories in a moment, after a commercial break.
I’m teaching a free webinar on The Three Essential Elements of a Short Story on May 28th. For those who sign up but can’t make it live, there will be a recording. Check out the details HERE.
And I’m inviting you to participate in my hands-on, write that story Short Story Workshop. You can choose between a basic option (four weeks of planning and writing), a plus option (additional two weeks of editing), and a VIP option (with amazing bonuses, and the option of seeing your short story published). See the details HERE. Don’t hesitate, we’re starting on June 2nd.
Okay, we’re back. Tap with these phrases if you are reluctant to writing short stories.
Even though I never liked short stories, not even in school and I would rather write novels, I’m a good writer, and I’m open to the possibility that I could learn to write short stories well.
Even though I’ve always scorned short stories for being failed novels, I am a good writer, and I’m now open to acknowledging that they may have their own values.
Even though I find short stories constricting and difficult to write, I’m a good writer, and I now choose to rise to the challenge and try my hand at them.
So, what’s the topic of your next short story? Or would you like to get some exercises on my writing forum? Let me know in a comment!
Image source: F. Moebius
PS: There is a huge difference between tapping on your own and tapping with guidance from a trained EFT-practicioner. If you’re stuck as writer and feel you want some fast and efficient support, I can help you. Just click HERE, fill in that email form and send it off. And then we’ll see how I can support you best.