Okay, I’ve written yet another short story. A “real” short story, not a short, short for a contest entry. But I’m not going to print the story here or say what it’s about (Ooh! How mysterious, right?). I’m mentioning it because as I take baby steps and sometimes giant, scary leaps into this “side adventure” of writing short stories while still working on my second novel, I hope and plan to share with you what I discover on my journey.
So if you have any interest in venturing into the world of writing (and hopefully selling) short stories, stay tuned. Or at least check in every now and again for tips and even some possible (probable?) stories of me tripping over a crack in the “sidewalk” as I follow this new path. But don’t despair, I will also share with you how I pick myself up and continue forward. Because I’m crazy like that. Optimism and hope fuel me, so I can assure you I do pick myself up.
Here is what I’ve learned so far:
1- Writing short stories is like writing novels only shorter. The writing is tighter.
2- I love writing tight.
3- Writing is “easy”; marketing is the hard part.
4- The more you read, the more you learn about the craft of writing and the business of writing.
5- Short stories CAN have happy endings!
6- Blogging does not come easy for me.
Okay, so I’ve learned a lot more things (thankfully!), but sharing 1-6 is a good place to start.
What you’ll notice if you check in on my blog now and again is that I prefer to write for inspiration and encouragement (giving those things, that is) more so than instructional or what have you. But I’ll do my best to supply a mix of all those things.
I haven’t been a fan of reading short stories in the past, but when I found myself drawn to writing some, I needed to venture out and educate myself on the process. What I found pleased me. There are a LOT of short stories and a myriad different ways to write them. The only rule is to keep it tight and, of course, short. Or at least shorter than most novels. Even the length varies! But mostly I was thrilled to discover that any story is acceptable. Meaning, write what you want, what you like, what thrills and interests you. Make your story precise, interesting and short, and voila! You have yourself a short story.
I sum it up this way because, being someone who likes precise instruction, I read through books about how to write short stories only to find I already knew all that stuff. Not to say I’m a know-it-all, but to express that if you know how to form fiction into a story, you are ready to write a short story (or novel!). So get to it. Take on the task with confidence and knowledge that you already possess what it takes. And keep reading! Long or short, doesn’t matter. Reading is your teacher.
So, aspiring short-story writers, I leave you know with a book recommendation. An oldie but very goodie. Guy de Maupassant. His personal story is tragic, but his short story collections are wonderful. Read and learn. It’s better than any “how-to” you’ll read.