What Short Stories Teach Us
Short stories are a completely different beast than a novel and can be much trickier since you have fewer words to tell your story. But they are also a valuable skill to master and can teach us a lot about writing. Let’s look at some different skills short stories can teach us.
- Structure- Short stories mimic the rising and falling action of a novel and give you good practice in story structure.
- Theme- It’s often easier to hone the theme of a short story than a longer work which may have multiple themes.
- Kill your darlings- You have fewer words to work with in a short story so each word really has to count. This makes killing your darlings (words, phrases, characters you love but aren’t essential to the plot) even more important and is good practice for developing that skill.
- Precise character development- You have less space to paint your characters so precisely developing characters in a shorter span of time is a good skill to develop.
- Concise and effective dialogue- There’s no room for pointless dialogue in a short story. You have to get straight to the point, using dialogue for characterization as well as to convey information.
- Pacing- Perfect your timing in a much shorter span of time with short stories.
- Practice unfamiliar styles- Whether this is a genre you don’t usually write or a different POV than you’re comfortable with, short stories allow you to practice the unfamiliar and broaden your horizons as a writer.
- Extra ideas and characters- You have all those ideas bouncing around in your head so why not use a few to write a short story? Same goes with characters who don’t fit into your novel project.
- Publishing- Short stories can fast track your way to publishing since you can write them quickly and try to get more published. Publishing a short story is a great way to build your publishing credentials for when that novel is ready.
- Switch things up- They help you switch up your writing routine and can help combat writer’s block.
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These are just some of the things writing short stories can teach us. How many short stories have you written so far? Do you prefer writing shorts or writing novels? Share your comments below and happy writing!