Why Writing Short Stories Helps Your Novel Writing

To be honest, I never much liked writing short stories. You don’t really read short stories much either, do you? Libraries are filled with novels but there are hardly any short story collections, much less good ones.

However, I think it is important to write short stories. Even though writing a novel that readers will enjoy throughout is extremely hard- it is arguable that writing a good short story is even harder. Instead of spacing out the start, climax, resolution; introducing and getting to know the characters, getting to know the setting a little, etc,  in the space of 100-600 pages on average, with a short story you need to do it in little over 10 pages. At the most.

I’ve been organizing a short story competition with the library to fundraise for NaNo’s Stories of Tomorrow Campaign, (which I’m pretty sure was due to end a couple of months ago, but has kept on going because we’re rather far from the goal), and you could write any short story. There were some word limits, but apart from that you could write anything other than fan fiction. I wrote three short stories, one which I rewrote from an old short story, and guess what. It was hard. REAL HARD. But it was extremely rewarding in many ways.

With short stories, you need a good plot twist to end the story to make it an interesting one, and that’s often one of the hardest parts of short story writing, along with the beginning. The fundamentals are the same with novel writing. A short story is almost like a scene or part of a novel where you introduce a new character, or you go to a new setting, and then something happens. Something that changes the whole story. Short stories often leave you hanging. But a good short story is always satisfying. All the things a short story calls for, are needed in a novel, aside from being short. So if all other things aside, you only consider them being alike, writing a short story is a great exercise for novel writing. Or vice-versa really.

In short, writing short stories can be really challenging, however it can be fun, and best of all rewarding.


22 thoughts on “Why Writing Short Stories Helps Your Novel Writing

  1. Yes. Yes yes yes. I recently wrote a short story—well, a novelette or novella, really, since it’s a little bit too long—and boy, I think it’s some of the best things I’ve ever written. Really hard, but really satisfying, and it helped me work on my writing style and such.

    • Yay! That’s awesome. I’m actually really having trouble with figuring out my writing style at the moment, hopefully I’ll get it figured out by November. *facepalm* Everything I write in my novels just turn out really bland. >_<

  2. …I posted a comment, and it doesn’t seem like it came through? Ugh. WordPress seems to seriously dislike me lately.

    Anyway, what I was going to say is, yes, I agree. I recently wrote a teensy-bit-too-big-to-be-a-real-short-story short story, and it helped me improve so much, especially my writing style. Really hard, yet really satisfying.

  3. *cough* So, now as to actually say what I wanted to say… hehe. Anyway, good post. I’ve been working on writing short stories, too. They’ve really helped me with stuff, especially working on my writing style. And description.

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