What I’ve Learned from Writing Short Stories

After writing Blood on my Hands for my Creative Writing class, I found that I thoroughly enjoy writing short stories. The experience got me thinking about some ways I could stretch as a writer, and take a break from any monotony that could come from writing about the same characters in my London Darkness series all the time, and while I wait for the edits from London Darkness: Infernal Inventions to come back to me.

I’ve written three short stories, and am currently working on my fourth. My plan is to self-publish a small book of my short stories as an affordable and portable way to get my work out there. Be on the lookout for it in the coming weeks!

I’ve also learned some things from writing these short stories. The main thing is: it’s fun! It’s kind of nice to be able to write out a couple of short stories that can, in some cases, be just as satisfying as a novella or full-length novel. It allows me to jump to several different settings and come up with many different characters and put them in new situations.

I think this will help me as a writer because, as someone who doesn’t generally plan out his stories, I think this will help me to keep a lot of ideas generating quickly, and will help me to figure out some plot points and ideas for my novels. Plus, I think it’s good to get away from longer works for a short period of time to help gain perspective on them. However, I don’t want to sit around and not write while I wait for perspective to finally show it’s face. So, I feel that writing short stories will also help to keep me in practice.

Does anyone else write short stories between novels? Or do you feel it’s better to–when working on a series–stick with it until it’s finished? Does anyone strictly write short stories? I’ve heard short fiction is making a comeback.

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15 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned from Writing Short Stories

  1. I’ve recently started writing short stories after only doing it a few times before. The hard part for me is to keep the story short. My imagination has a tendency to snowball, to go for the epic. It’s nice to train myself smaller.

  2. With short stories I think you apply your creativity in different ways than with a novel and they both can help you. With a novel you basically have an idea that you stretch into different forms but with short stories you have only one idea that must stay where it is and change from within (not sure if making any sense here). I’ve been writing short stories a lot lately and it is challenging to come up with so many different situations and ideas but, I think, is can be just as rewarding as creating a novel.

  3. I find the short format very rewarding and satisfying. I use the short story or novella as a development ground for either another short or to lay ground work for a larger work. The one and only complete novel length manuscript I wrote sprang from 1 short story in particular and that story derived from a dozen or more short stories and novellas. The short format is great for world building, testing out character interactions, finding their voices.

    • That’s exactly what happened with Pa and Me. It stared as a monologue, turned into a short story, and–if I ever find the time– turn it into a novella.

  4. I’ve talked about this on my blog before, so you know that I love short stories! They are a perfect way to keep writing while you’re waiting for beta readers to read your novel. It’s also nice to work with other characters, settings, and styles when a novel gets a little overwhelming or stagnant.

    I’m TOTALLY a pantser too, Chris, and short stories are great little things for us to work on when that idea hits you smack in the face and you just have to go with it. I love writing shorts because it really makes me focus on my voice and my word choice. You don’t have a lot of time to start and finish the story, so you have to be extremely concise. This is something that you can only learn with practice, and can still be applied to writing novels.

    • I agree! I am waiting for edits/beta readers, so these short stories are a good way for me to, as I said in a previous comment, flex the creative muscle in a different way.

  5. I write a lot of short stories, not too sure they’re any good mind lol

    Seriously, I actually think they’re harder than writing a novel, because you need to get everything condensed down into a small piece of writing. I tend to do 1000 word ones the most 🙂


  6. I’m not published, but have posted some shorts on my website to expose my writing. Recently, I wrote aValentine’s Day short and had the greatest fun. Although I had a plot for the story, it ultimately suprised me. Such a die hard pantser that I am. In the Romance genre short fiction is becoming increasingly more poplular. I’m trying to get a novella published first, in hopes that the same publisher will be interested in my novel.

  7. I believe Stephen King said that writing short stories instead of length novels helps you improve your writing faster because you fail faster and learn what doesn’t work quicker

  8. I certainly do hope they make a comeback! I just finished my collection and it’s by far my favourite writing medium.
    I started with short stories because I just had so many ideas milling around in my head, I just had to get them out there. And writing bite-size tales helped me to do that… 🙂

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