Four Ways Short Fiction Will Make You a Better Writer
by Cherie Reich
It seems like some writers balk at the thought of writing short fiction. They insist they write novels and can’t write a short story because it always ends up into a novel. I say anyone can learn to write short fiction and can learn from writing short fiction.
Although novel-length works and short stories seem quite different and are in several ways, they also display similarities. They usually have characters, theme, and plot, but a novel is spread throughout time, a short story is a mere moment. With a novel, you can explore the characters in a greater depth through subplots. A short story is more focused with usually one plot and limited characters.
When I started writing novels, I heard it was good to bulk up your writing résumé by writing short stories. As I was writing and submitting short fiction to magazines and anthologies, I ventured into flash fiction. I noticed when I went back to writing novels that my writing was more concise and leaner. I was learning what was important and what wasn’t.
So how can writing short fiction help you? Let me list some ways it’s helped me.
1. Be concise. With a limited number of words, you learn what is really important.
2. Practice makes perfect or, at least, better. Have trouble with dialogue? Focus on a dialogue-heavy story. My weakness was descriptions, so I worked on writing description-heavy flash fiction that focused on a setting.
3. Think small. By focusing on one plot or a character’s growth through a scene, I was able to figure out how to move the story in a shorter time period, which helped transition to writing scenes in a novel.
4. Experiment. Short fiction allows you to try different genres or ways to write without fear. It’s much easier to throw away a thousand words of something that’s not working than eighty thousand.
Have you written a short story?
Check out Cherie's Collection of Fantastic Short Stories!!!
The kingdom hangs in the balance.
War threatens Foxwick on all sides.
The dreaded Shadowlands gains more souls. From the shrouded trees in Greymist Forest to the arid Blackden Barrens, monsters roam in search of their next victim. Sirens lure ships beneath Merrilea Sea. In cold and snowy Wintermill, royals plot to claim Foxwick as their own, even if they must use dragons and sorcery. Marriage between Foxwick’s king and Lochhollow’s princess creates a perilous alliance. Although brave Valdale will come to Foxwick’s aid, the cost may be more than a true friend can stomach.
Set over a hundred years, these seventeen fantasy short stories explore the people, creatures, and lands in and around the Kingdom of Foxwick.
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Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror collection Once Upon a Nightmare, a science fantasy collection titled Fall of Gravity, and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles and The Fate Challenges. Reborn is her debut novel. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms. For more information, please visit her website.