It's not uncommon to hear "write short stories first to build your skill and gain a few publishing credits." While this advice is good for some, for those who don't know how to write short or even like to write short, it can be a road to frustration.But there is good news. Not everyone has to follow this advice.
Cut It Short
Short stories can be a great way to earn publishing credits and develop your skills, but if you find yourself banging your head against the keyboard at the mere thought of writing one, you might not be a short story writer at heart.
And that's okay.
Short stories take different skill sets. Just like you wouldn't feel bad for not being able to write in a genre you don't read or like, don't worry if you don't like writing short stories (or novels if you happen to be a short story writer). You don't have to writer either if you don't like doing it.
I wrote shorts in the beginning of my writing career, mostly because everyone said I should. But it didn't take me long to realize I wasn't a short story writer. It's much harder for me to craft a short story than a novel, and 70K words is where my skills shine the brightest. So I stopped trying. You'll see the occasional short story from me, but I focus on novels. They're what makes me happy as a writer.
I have friends who are just the opposite. They write wonderful shorts, but novels drive them crazy. Too many plots, characters, too much to worry about and keep track of. Their talents lie in the shorter form, and they're much happier under 10K words. I also have friends with skills in both, who can jump back and forth seamlessly and write whichever format suits their ideas best. Some use their shorts to help flesh out their novel worlds, or to craft histories for their characters.
For those who enjoy shorts, or are thinking about trying shorts, this week if for you. Yep, it's Short Story Week! I'll have guest authors visiting all week to share their tips and tricks on how to write, edit, and even sell your short stories.
But don't you novelists fret -- shorts are all about writing tight, so there are things to learn even if you prefer the long form.