Short stories are great for writers who don’t want to commit to a novel but still want to produce characters and plots that evolve over a shorter amount of time. The formal definition of a short story, pulled from various online resources, is a fully developed theme that is shorter than a novel and usually written in narrative prose. I prefer to view them as “mini novels.”
Short stories tend to be under 10,000 words, and if you go over, you may be on your way to creating a novel. The freedom to choose a topic adds to the excitement of writing a short story.
When I was younger, I used to always write short stories. It began in second grade when my teacher encouraged us students to write freely during a designated writing time. But I didn’t stop there, I brought my ideas, and more, home with me after each day of school. I would hide away in my room, creating characters and storylines in my Hello Kitty journal, and wouldn’t come out until I had a story to share with my family.
Creativity is such an important aspect when writing a short story because no one wants to read a piece that is going nowhere. The story needs a spark, otherwise readers won’t care to even give your piece a glance. But, though creativity may seem easy, it can also be dangerous. It’s hard to stop yourself from writing when you have come up with an awesome storyline and continue producing content. Reminder, if you are looking to write short stories, aim at a word count somewhere near 10,000.
Although too much creativity can become “dangerous” (and I use the term dangerous loosely because it really isn’t all that bad) when writing a short story, it may lead to something greater. Perhaps you find that you wish to continue developing what was once a short story, and turn it into a novel. By attempting to write a short story, as an author, you may be able to find a story that has so much more potential and requires a much higher word count.
Either way, take the risk. Create a character that is totally experimental to you or write about a topic you may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. As I learned in my English class at Drake University recently, it’s always okay to take the risk. You never know what type of outcome may become of it and if you don’t try, you may never know. Short stories are a great place to start, so get typing, there’s a story just waiting to be told.