From Writer Unboxed:
There are many bad reasons to focus on short fiction and one really good one…and both present their own problems. Stick with me as I show you how to adapt your writing to short fiction OR expand your short stories into novels.
Bad Reasons to Write Short Stories
Short stories are great for your career, they say. Start with short fiction, they say, to
- Build your publication credits
- Help new audiences find you
- Let editors know you’re serious
- Raise your profile by winning contests
- Keep your novel fans happy in between books
The problem is not everyone loves short stories. I’m talking about readers and writers, here.
Writing short, while undeniably a useful skill, just isn’t something everyone loves. Maybe you’re in that group.
The bigger problem for you is that the mythical ‘they’ who tell you short stories are a great tool in your toolbox aren’t wrong.
But don’t worry, I’m going to explain some of the reasons you find it hard to write short, and I’m going to show you some techniques for stopping your story’s attempt to become an epic 14-part novel series.
Good Reasons To Keep It Short
If you love short fiction, that comes with its own set of problems:
- Nobody has made a living selling short fiction since 1959. (OK, I made up that date, but do you know anyone your age who has earned a decent hourly wage for a short story?)
- The majority of readers read novels, not short fiction.
- When you show a story to your fellow writers, 98% of them say “this would be a great first chapter” or “I really want to know more.”
- You feel like you ought to be writing novels (because that’s what most people read and buy), but the thought is terrifying: like the difference between the fun of decorating a single room vs. committing to building a whole house with underfloor heating, a solarium, and a bathroom for every guest. You have no idea how to get started and you’re not even sure you want to.
- When you try to ‘add words’ you get the feeling you’re just adding words, not actually adding to the story.
Fear not: in this article I’m going to show you some of the ways short stories and novels differ so that, no matter which one you’re trying to build, you can read the blueprints and create something that stands on its own.
Link to the rest at Writer Unboxed