Friday, December 7, 2012

Benefits of Writing Short Stories



Lynda Young is visiting my blog today to tell you why writing short stories benefits you as a writer.  Her short story is part of the gorgeous anthology above. 


8 Benefits of Writing Short Stories by Lynda R. Young

Thank you, Theresa, for having me here today. Since my short story, Birthright, appears in the recent release of the Make Believe anthology published by J. Taylor Publishing, I thought I'd talk about the benefits of writing short stories.

  1. To hone our craft. Because short stories are short compared to novels, they don't allow for rambling text, a gaggle of characters, or oodles of backstory. As a consequence, they help us to be concise in our language and focused on weaving a tight tale. This skill is necessary in all our writing and will reflect in our novels.

  2. To refresh our creativity. When a writer has been slaving over a novel for a few months, a year, or more, creativity can take a beating, especially when that writer is entrenched in the editing stage. Taking a break to write a short story can inject life back into our creative minds without losing a lot of time from our novels. I wrote Birthright because I needed a break from my manuscript and came across the call for submissions for Make Believe.

 3. To explore a concept. I came up with a great idea for a novel, but I wasn't sure about the world I wanted to set it in. So I wrote a short story purely to explore the concept of the world before I delved into the novel.

 4. To build a resume. Building up a body of work gives confidence to agents and publishers. Short stories can help us do this because they are quick to write and easier to get published than novels. A strong resume of published works shows we're serious about our writing career, and it shows we have at least some experience with publishing and deadlines.

 5. To expand our platform. Editors, agents, and publishers are looking for writers with a strong platform—yes, even for fiction writers. In other words, they want people who are visible, who have credibility, and have proven they can reach a target audience. Most of us will turn to social media for this platform, but I feel we shouldn't stop there. The more we get our name out there, the better it will be, and short stories are a great delivery system for getting this done.

 6. To give us valuable industry experience. It's one thing to read about what happens when a piece is accepted for publication, it's quite another to experience all the processes—the structural edits, line edits, copy edits, marketing requirements and other hodgepodge that goes along with getting published.

 7. To bolster our confidence. Confidence is a writer's best friend. The simple act of finishing a project is enough to boost that confidence and short stories allow us to do that.

 8. To top up that flailing income. Writing doesn't pay well for most of us, so anything we can do to add to the dribble of income is worth considering. Sure, the first couple of short stories we write and publish won't gain us much, if anything, but as we write more, the coins start to trickle in. Soon you'll be able to afford that stationery set you've always wanted.


Can you think of other benefits of writing short stories? 
Why do you, or don't you, write short stories? 
What do you like about reading short stories? 


About Make Believe: An anthology of fantasy short stories, some set in fantastic worlds, others set in more familiar surroundings, all intriguing and well worth the read (in my humble opinion).

Purchase links:



About the Author: Lynda R. Young lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. She writes speculative short stories and is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative.

You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

72 comments:

  1. To explore a concept - I like that idea. Think I'll use it to determine my next book. Maybe I'll think of one sooner that way!

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    1. ooh so you ARE going to have a next book after CassaStorm! YAY!!!

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  2. Great reasons for writing stories. I also love how they are easier to write and edit and can teach a writer about editing in a smaller space. I love short stories.

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    1. Yes, exactly!! They are so great for the learning process.

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  3. Great reasons. The hone our craft reason is a really good one because it stresses the importance of the economy of words, nudging writers in the direction of learning better to put more power into their imagery and action with power-punch words.

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  4. I just came across a book of short stories and for about five minutes had the urge to write one! This post may convince me to do so!

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    1. oh, I hope you do. There is something deeply satisfying about writing short stories.

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  5. If I ever start writing, I believe short stories will be my vehicle. Great list!

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    1. It's a smart way to begin. Thanks for commenting, Shelly.

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  6. Lovely Lynda!!! I wish you all the very best with your stories!!! Yay! take care
    x

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  7. I like short stories, because they don't demand a lot of time from the reader. Basically, the investment is about 15 minutes depending on length and reading speed.

    Thanks for posting my blog tour button, Theresa!

    I like your background too. It's blue like mine.

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    1. Yes exactly! In today's fast-paced world which is getting even faster, I think short stories will become even more popular for readers.

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  8. Thank you so much, Theresa, for hosting me here on your blog.
    Hug!
    Lyn

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  9. Hi Theresa and Lynda .. the Make Believe anthology looks such an interesting read .. and I love the points you make about writing short stories, as well as blogging, writing books etc .. so many alternatives and it's all practice, practice, practice ... keep on writing ..

    Cheers and have great Christmas preparations this weekend .. Hilary

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    1. exactly, the more we write--any kind of writing--the easier it is and the better we become.

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  10. The dreaded short story. I've been avoiding them as I heard that they're harder to do than novel-length stories. But I think I'm going to break down...as soon as I get a decent idea.

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    1. Yep, I've heard that too, but I'd disagree. Novels are gargantuan projects. However, it's true that a novel gives us more room to ramble, but to be honest, we shouldn't be rambling anyway. I hope you do dip your toes into short story writing.

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  11. Great tips, Lynda! I do love me short stories, keep them coming.

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    1. time!! I need more time!! I'm itching to write again and I have a gazillion ideas, but I've been so busy with this Make Believe tour that I won't have the time to write during December. Eeek!

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  12. You've inspired me. I used to write a short story every week with FlashFriday. I might go write one today!

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  13. Took me 3 years to see the value of short stories. You've captured it perfectly in this post. Also, writing shorts helped me get back into writing when I had a very long hiatus.

    Congrats on your story getting pubbed!!!

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    1. Thanks so much!! And yes, short stories are great for easing back into writing after a break.

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  14. These are wonderful points - such an encouragement! Thanks, Lynda, for sharing, and Theresa, for hosting. You make a great team!

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  15. Great points, Lynda! For me the best benefit is getting practice in sharpening my writing. When I've got three pages to tell a story I'd normally tell in a whole book, it challenges me to find ways to condense and intensify things.

    Jai

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    1. 'intensify' is a good way of putting it. Thanks, Jai.

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  16. All good reasons! And they're fun, too :)

    Hi, Theresa ... waving :)

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  17. Excellent points. I wish I were a short story writer. I've tried, but I itch to write longer stories.

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    1. I must confess, many of my short story attempts have turned into novel ideas... lol. But that's okay too :)

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  18. All great points... for me it's very much to explore a new idea / world / genre and to gain confidence in writing it:)

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    1. The freedom to explore is a wonderful thing, and if that bolsters confidence, then all the better!

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  19. I love writing short stories so I'd add fun to the list. Novel writing can be fun too at times, but it's a different kind of fun.

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    1. so, so true! I think part fo the fun of short story writing is that they are quick to complete (compared to novels).

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  20. Excellent post! All such good reasons to write short stories - you make me want to give it a try :) I keep seeing mention of Birthright and it sounds really good... I guess I'm going to have to get this anthology so I can read it!

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    1. Thanks Susanna, I hope you enjoy the read :)

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  21. All eight of your benefits are valid ones. I don't have much experience writing short stories, but I did submit a few to a magazine last year, and one was published. The pay was extremely lucrative, (even bought myself a new laptop with it!) but the boost to my confidence was even more valuable. Having my work accepted gave me a modicum of validation, if you know what I mean. One thing I wasn't quite prepared for is how much editing the magazine did with my story. OY! But hey! They paid me well, so I'm not gonna complain. (too loudly)

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    1. Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean. And lol at the editing. It's funny because sometimes my work gets a light once over and other times it gets major edits. I can never tell which piece will get what treatment. I guess it wholly depends on the editor.

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  22. I've never tried writing short stories. Maybe it's something to explore!

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  23. Hi Theresa. Hi Lynda. There's a line of thought that says writing short stories is to hone your novel craft, but really, writing short stories that sell is a stand-alone activity. All writing has its place - I think flash fiction is the best way to learn the writing craft personally - talk about learning to see what moves the story forward and what takes the reader out. So I write all three - flash fiction, short stories which keep an income stream, and novels, which of course are the hardest of all, as finishing one to submission stage is miraculous I think.

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    1. I have to agree that novel writing is the hardest of all three, though each present their own challenges. And yes, I'd definitely recommend flash fiction writing as well for the reasons you gave.

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  24. These are all great advantages to writing short stories. I especially love #1, 2, & 3. Short story writing definitely has taught me to write more concisely and has given me the confidence to explore a new concept. I love how it also rejuvenates my creativity when I'm in a writing valley.

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    1. Thanks, Sheri. Short story writing is the best! :)

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  25. Excellent post. I write short stories for all those reasons. I believe writing short stories has made me a better writer.

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    1. And your short stories are brilliant. Thanks for commenting, Christine.

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  26. Wow...getting here a little late, but then again, what's new? Glad you saved a chair for me.

    My current ms is a direct result of exploring a concept. Writing different dialects excites me, but as we all well know, it can be difficult to capture effectively. My book began as a short on a prompt board testing my hand at western dialect from the 1870's. I saw where it did and didn't work, and knew I'd one day develop the short further.

    After that successful experiment, it was like the world opened a secret door of possibilities. I became fearless, and now use those flash fiction and 500 word shorts to go everywhere, try everything.

    All eight of your reasons were spot-on; exactly what I use the shorts for. As you can see by the length of this comment, #1 can still use a lot of work.

    Thanks, Lynda :o)

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    1. Pfft, it's never too late, Mike! I'd love to see a snippet of your 1870's dialect. I've been working with dialect as well and it's a real challenge to get the balance right, but so much fun to write.

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  27. I find short stories harder to write cuz every word really does count. But I love these reasons why it's a good idea. No reason not to try it if it suits you. Thanks for the tips, Lynda!

    And thanks for stopping by my blog Theresa!

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    1. Yep, short story writing can be a challenge, but it's so worth it.

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  28. I agree with you on all the points. To explore a concept, to take a break from the novel....Short stories are how I started my writing career.

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    1. And what a fabulous start! Thanks for popping by, Rachna.

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  29. I came to short stories kicking and screaming. Foolish me. After going through the revision/editing process with 3 short stories that now have homes in anthologies, I went back and revised my manuscripts with new sharper eyes.

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    1. Yes, that revision/editing process which comes through publication can be a real eye-opener and a fantastic learning process.

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  30. Thank you Lynda, your words are always encouraging and I now feel stronger than ever about where I want to go with writing.
    Nobu

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    1. That's good to hear, Nobu. Thanks for popping over and leaving a comment here.

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  31. Lynda - Thanks for your insight...and good luck with your book!

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  32. Lynda, I definitely use short story writing to help rejuvenate the writing juices when I need a break from my WIP. It really does help. Point #4 is one of my 2013 goals. I really want to get some pieces out there and use them as stepping stones. Thanks for the fantastic insight.

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    1. That's a fantastic goal. Wishing you the best for 2013. I'm thinking it will be a great year!

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  33. Congratulations, Lynda. Looks like a lovely anthology. I love writing short stories. It's been quite a shift for me to try my hand at YA novel writing these past couple of years. When I get bogged down in the enormity of the project, I often take a break to write a new piece of flash fiction. I miss that satisfaction of following something through to completion and publication in a short amount of time.

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    1. novels are such massive projects, it's good to take a mini break from them and, as you say, enjoy following something through to completion and publication.
      Thanks so much, Ruth.

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  34. Great list! I turn to short stories for a break from novel fatigue as well. It's nice to relax a bit, but I feel like I need to keep writing even if I'm not working on my novel. A short story is a great compromise, and it lets you branch out into different genres and explore some new ideas.

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    1. We really are hooked on writing, aren't we? Thanks, Nickie

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  35. These are all great reasons to write short stories. For the reader a short story can have a great payoff for a small investment of time and often the stories are more memorable.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. So true about the reader's side of the coin. Thanks for commenting, Lee.

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  36. Those are all great reasons, Lynda. I love reading short stories. The ideas aren't always there, but I've written a handful in a couple of years. Just need to edit...

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    1. Ah yes, finding the time to edit... ;)
      I hope you do find that time. Thanks for the comment, Deniz.

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