Why I Write Short Stories

I do solemnly promise that someday I will stop talking about ‘The Fantastic and the Wondrous’. But today is not that day.

What happens when you have a girl who wants to be a writer, but also has a job (or two), a couple other hobbies, a small attention span, and likes to sleep? She writes flash fiction of course.

I have been writing flash fiction and short stories for years now. Some of them are great, some of them are not so great. It was just easier on my little brain to deal with one small story at a time, instead of trying to plot out entire novels.

It may seem like the easy way out, I was tired and busy so I wrote a baby story. But here’s the thing, I still grew as a writer. By leaps and bounds in fact, all by writing short stories.

When you write a short story you are still writing a story with a beginning, middle, and end. You still have characters, plot, theme, motivations, POV’s, all the things that make up a full length novel. They are just all pint size!

The upside to the teeniness is that you gain experience writing the whole thing over and over and over again. Yes yes, in some ways short stories do work differently from novels. Especially when you look at it from a plotting stand point. But in many ways they are the same, both are stories after all.

So with every short story written I gained experience with writing. I learned what works and doesn’t work in dialogue, I learned when to put in descriptions (actually I’m still working on that one, but I’m getting there!), and how to create a decent ending.

All of which will come in handy when I get back to writing my poor, abandoned full length novels.

Not only did I gain experience, but I experimented with my stories. Mwhahaha! *cough* My poor characters….

With many of the stories, I tried new things. What would happen if I wrote from an omniscient POV? What if I made the MC the sidekick instead of the hero that saves the world? Hm, what if the hero lost the battle? Sometimes, the experiments went well, and those are the ones that you will be reading in my collection. Sometimes, they didn’t go quite so well…

But whether they worked out or not, I had learned something more about writing, and about my writing style. (I shouldn’t ever do omniscient, I fail miserably.)

I could have done the experiments within a full length novel, but it would have been thousands of words later that I figured this out, instead of hundreds. Or, if it failed, I would have to switch styles mid book. Been there, tried that, didn’t work so well.

With every short story I could try something new, or expand on a style that I had used before. The possibilities were endless, and I could go to bed on time! It’s a win win!

Hence why I had enough stories to fill a collection. And since I like my short stories better than my novels, why not put them out in the world for other people to read? Thus began the long journey towards publishing ‘The Fantastic and the Wondrous’. A journey that will come to its end in two days!! Oh glory me, have I done everything?

‘Scuze me, I need to check my to do list.

Shaina Merrick

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