Keep Your Shorts On!

I won’t deny it – funny short-versus-talllike the writers mentioned in this post, I’m not much for short stories, although as a kid, I loved Roald Dahl’s collection of creepy tales.

As reader and writer, big books are my comfort zone, but I do agree that writing short stories/flash is a great way to stretch yourself, and I’ve read and really enjoyed the short stories of some of my writing friends.

So when the article below landed in my inbox today, it reminded me of how much I enjoyed having a bash at flash a while back. I’m in the throes of editing and rewrites on Big Book – and it’s taking it’s toll on the old inspiration. Perhaps Short and Sweet – or Short and Sharp – is exactly what I need right now.

I might not manage 52 (or even 25) shorts in a year, but they are a great way to experiment and try out things I don’t normally do, such as writing in first person PoV, or – perish the thought – present tense.  I’ve tried both with these, and was surprised not only at how refreshing it was to break out of my comfort zone, but also how much there was to be learned from the discipline required to keep a story contained in under one thousand words for flash fiction.

I’m mulling over the idea of developing them into a collection.  Children’s stories are also way out of my normal pale,* but I think there might be something here with Thandeka, Gogo, and Mama Bab.

What do you think?

And do you enjoy reading and writing shorts – if so, does it help fire up the muse for the big-book writing? Feel free to leave a link in the comments to any of your own shorts!

* Not a typo of pail, and not a shade of grey, either.

An Argument for Writing Short Stories

Written by Emily Harstone.

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.’ — Ray Bradbury

A good [short story] would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit.”    – David Sedaris

Writers who are serious about improving and developing their craft should write short stories and get editorial feedback on them, even if they are never planing on publishing these short stories. Short stories are one of the best ways to hone your craft as a writer.

When I teach creative writing courses one of the assignments is always to write a short story. Over the years I have discovered that students are more and more reluctant to do this. Instead they submit novel excerpts disguised as short stories…..

link to the rest at

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9 thoughts on “Keep Your Shorts On!

  1. Awesome! I have two short horror stories at the beginning of my blog. I think I posted them in October or November. They’re a series. Scribbled Thoughts A Scary Short Story Part 1 and 2. I’m currently working on a fantasy and some other things but when I finish the fantasy I will be working on Part 3. I look forward to reading your stories.

  2. Before I started my current project (which is a trilogy of novel) I had basically only written short stories… though some were qute long ;-)

    I know it’s a completley different form from novel, but I do think being familiar with the shorter form helps organising ideas for a novel and even the structure, to some extent. At least, this is what happene dto me. My chapters do tend to look a lot like short stories, I think. I also think short stories taught me the economy of words.

    I haven’t written a short story since I started my current project four years ago, but recently I’ve been rolling ideas in my head. You never know ;-)

    1. I agree absolutely – a short story is complete within itself, and scenes within a novel tend to have immediate connections or through links to each other, but short stories can definitely help you nail down scene construction.

      Post a link if you do decide to write those ideas down!

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