On Writing Short Stories

Should I be writing more short stories?

As you may have noticed, I call myself a ‘writer’ but I have never posted a short story on this blog before. And short stories are supposed

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to be super-common, aren’t they? Why haven’t I written and posted any yet? The truth is I have written short stories before. Obviously. English class at school demands short stories. I’ve written quite a few before.

But no, I have probably never written a short story because I actually wanted to before. I’ve always went for its big brother, the novel. It sounds strange but there’s a few reasons to this. I like writing longer stuff. You get to put in more detail. I like the challenges of plotting and writing a novel. Also, short stories just sound so academic. 😉 And there isn’t much of an urge in me to write a short story. After all, once you’ve finished a novel, you actually get that feeling of accomplishment. Wow, I finished a novel. With a short story…not so much.

I’m starting to reconsider my stance with short stories, however. The main reason that I’m reconsidering is because novels take such a freaking amount of time to write. I’m probably going to be stuck on Shield of Fire (my current historical fiction novel) for a minimum of half a year, and I’m expecting that it could take until the end of the year to write. This means, of course, that pretty much the only bit of fiction I will be doing is Shield of FireShield of Fire all the time. That might drive me crazy (as writing Revolution: Rise of Darkness did).

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Another reason is because often I come up with these nice little plot ideas that I write down in my notebook of ideas but never actually get to write them out, mostly because I’m occupied with writing a full-length novel and that means that any other idea is pushed away. A lot of the time these ideas aren’t fit for a long novel, however, but they’d be nice for a short story. So why don’t I write them down? There’s no reason not to, actually. Short stories are like very short novels, when you think about it. You have all the components of fiction (eg. plot, character, setting, theme), but often on a less complex and smaller scale. So writing a short story is a bit like toying with a baby novel. This would be fun since I do have a few themes and plot ideas to use, as I mentioned earlier.

Also, it’s not like I don’t need writing practice. I’m not a wonderful writer in-league with, say, Joseph Conrad. (Okay, that last sentence was stupid. No writer in their sane mind would compare themselves to a literary heavyweight like Conrad). Short stories might help me get both my creative juices running and it would help me with my writing practice..

There’s a reason why I might not want to become a serious short story writer, however. I’m actually pretty busy already the way I am, as I write about two posts on this blog (on average), two posts on Homewritten History, and Shield of Fire. This is added in with my usual schoolwork and any other side-projects I might be doing. (For example, right now, I’m preparing for my school’s end-of-year Performance and Presentation Day, so I’m still outlining scripts and such). Writing short stories is going to be another layer of work which could finally drive me to apoplexy. Or, I could suspend writing novels for writing short stories every once in a while (which doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea when you think about it), but then Shield of Fire chapters would be repeatedly postponed. Lastly (this is a personal thing) I find writing short stories less fun than writing a novel. It’s just the strains of making things short and concise, I guess. Or maybe it’s simply the fact that when I write short stories for school, there’s always these ‘word count limits’ which just kill your creativity. Word count limits deserve a blog post all to itself. Grr. Life is always filled with pros and cons, upsides and downsides.

What I will certainly be doing, however, is publishing some of my previous short stories that I wrote for school. (The ones that are in publishing-quality, that is). As for writing new short stories…I’ll tell you my verdict later. What do you think? Please comment with your ideas!

Thanks for reading.

-Ken

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