I will admit — right now — that I am biased to short stories. I like to read them and I like to write them. I like to read them because they are bite sized stories that I can finish in one night. I can read two before bed and I won’t find that the clock suddenly reads 3AM.
1. It Will Make You A Better Writer.
When you have to write an entire story in only 4 thousand words, every word has to matter. Every word has to propel your story forward. That helps you strengthen your vocabulary, which is one of the most important weapons that we have. Our words empower us. Our vocabulary gives voice to our personality. Our vocabulary is our voice.
2. It Will Boost Your Self Esteem.
I, for one, will always fight a bit of low self-esteem when I find that I can’t finish a novel idea. I get sad that I can’t help my baby grow. It is easier for me to finish short stories. I guess I just work better with shorter projects.
Short stories can be finished in less than a couple months (that’s always helpful). Right now, I’m trying to formulate a schedule that will finalize a story concept (plan, write, edit, and review) a short story a week.
I like the feeling that I get when I finish something. I may work on more than one short story concept a week, but I like being able to look at my printed-out short story and say, “Yes! It’s finished!” — every week!
3. It Will Help You Create Dynamic Characters.
Character arcs develop so slowly during a novel. You have the time to describe every detail in a room. You can show your readers why they should feel sorry for the victim in an entire chapter. Getting to know your characters is a great way to get your readers hooked, because they will be more emotionally involved. However, with a short story
4. It Help You Gain Exposure.
Short stories are great for writers who are polishing their craft and writers who need some direction. You can submit your work to literary magazines, spec magazines, short story anthologies, websites, etc. A lot of the good magazines will help you by either publishing your work or by giving you a bit of advice if they don’t.
You can even self publish a short story on your website or sell it for cheap on Amazon. I’m always looking to read new authors and if I can get a taste of their work for free or for .99 cents, I will be more likely to take a gander at the story.
5. It Can Help You Try Out Different Genres.
I don’t like to categorize things…haha, sorry, I can’t say that with a straight face. I’m human. That means that — whether I like it or not — I categorize things all the time. If you look in my fridge, you will see that all of the beverages are on one shelf and all of the leftovers are on another. If you look into my office, you will see that all of my stories are categorized in folders on my computer and that all of my handwritten notes are filed away.
I don’t suffer from OCD.
When it comes to writing, we will often write in genres that we feel confident in or genres that we like to read. That’s great. However, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to that. Don’t be afraid to dabble. And the easiest way to dabble is by writing and reading short stories in different genres.
Give short stories a chance. Even if you’re intention is to move on to writing novels, it will be great practice for you.