Are you new to the world of writing? Do you want to make it into a career or perhaps just as a hobby? You’re likely wondering what to write first. Perhaps, you have in mind an epic novel like one of Sue Grafton’s? Did you know that Sue Grafton also wrote a collection of short stories? Short stories are a wonderful place to start your writing career. They have all the components of a great tale – long or short, but with fewer words.
Choosing to begin by writing a short story, can allow you the opportunity to choose a plot, characters and a setting, just like you would do if you wanted to create a longer piece. And, in theory, writing a short story is a much less time-consuming project than creating a novel or novella. This means that you will probably be able to finish it in a relatively short amount of time. When ideas are fresh in your mind, they are easier to put on paper.
Edit and Reedit
Short stories are also an excellent opportunity for writers to experiment. When you are new to the craft, it gives you a chance to play around with what you have written without the need to edit tens of thousands of words. Consider this scenario, you have written a short story and while you like it, you feel like something is missing.
However, you just can’t put your finger on exactly what it is. You wonder if you need another character, or perhaps you have too much or too little dialogue, or the point of view of the story is wrong. Because you wrote a short story, it is feasible for you to go back and change any number of things to see what end result you get.
If you have written your short story on the computer, copy and paste your story onto a new page in your document or a new document. This will allow you to easily compare changes later and decide which version you like best. For example, you are wondering if your character’s voice sounds better in first or third person. When you look at your two versions and read them back to yourself, you will hopefully see which you like better.
Feedback Is Essential
When it comes to receiving feedback on your work, which is an important part of the learning process, short stories are less daunting to the person reviewing your work. For example, if you are asking a friend, family member, or creating a writing group on social media for their opinions, the thought of needing to read through hundreds of papers might seem like an overwhelming task.
However, if you ask someone to review five, six, or even ten pages, it feels possible without being overly time-consuming. Also, based on the feedback that you receive, you have the freedom to play around with different ideas, without needing to recreate an entire novel. This can make the writing process liberating.
Also, short stories can be created in a series which means that if you have many ideas for a character, that you can still write them all, without it needing to be in the form of a novel.
When it comes to short stories for children, they are more apt to hold a child’s shorter attention span, and it makes it easier for parents at bedtime because they can still finish reading the book to or with their children. Some popular children’s short stories are the Clifford the Big Red Dog series by Norman Bridwell and Franklin the Turtle by Paulette Bourgeois.