Why Writing Short Stories Can Make You A Better Writer

By on August 23, 2016
Why Writing Short Stories Can Make You A Better Writer - Writer's Life.org

Often people believe they should only stick to one form of writing. Simply keep to one and try to perfect their craft. If you are a novelist, then you should only write novels, a poet, only poems, a comic strip writer only comics (you get the picture).

However, a huge number of the most successful writers have achieved that success in many different areas. Playwrights become novelists; tv sitcom writers turn to fiction writing, those who have written autobiographies or academic books turn to poems and script writing.

Experimenting with different types of writing helps you to become a better writer. For aspiring novelists, I believe that none does this better than the humble short story.

Let’s take a look at some of the key elements that should be included in all good novels.

A tight plot

Lots of action

Characters we care about straight away

An ending that brings resolution and evokes a strong reaction in the reader (it could be satisfaction, it could be frustration, sadness, horror, joy and so on).

How do we get good at perfecting all these elements? We practice.

As I, and no doubt many other writing advice writers have noted, time and time again, writing is a skill, it can be learned, it can be taught. It needs dedication and passion (OK and sometimes a little bit of luck) to get good at it, and to become successful.

What better way of practising your writing skills than writing short stories?

Writing short stories demands you to really think about each and every word, that you are succinct and smart, that you write naturally, and engagingly, that every character has presence and purpose.

Short stories also help you to become a better editor too. By going over each and every short story you write, you’ll soon become eagle-eyed, not just for general mistakes but plot inconsistencies, language that doesn’t ‘sit right’ and points where your story goes awry.

Remember that writing short stories can help you in more ways than one. Besides forcing you to write neat plots, come up with engaging characters and pack tonnes of explosive action into a very restricted amount of words, they can also inspire you and give you ideas for your larger projects too.

There is also no reason why your short stories should only serve as a way of helping your novels and perfecting your craft. You could easily send these off to publishers and magazines to see if they would be interested in publishing them. If they do, you can build up a readership and when you come to launch your novel you’ll already have an army of fans who admire your work, eager to buy whatever you come out with next!

If you find yourself always writing short stories on a similar theme, you could pull these together and make them into a book of their own.

At the very least upload your short stories to your author website and share them on your social media channels as a way of giving your readers regular content and building up an audience.

Short stories really are a brilliant, fun and useful way to help you become a better writer. So next time you want to work on your creative, writing and editing skills why not give writing a short story a try and see how you get on?

About Ty Cohen


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