Short stories: the challenges of brevity

I edited and sent off a short story today. Exciting! I should really write more shorts. The trouble is, I often tend to go for expansive stuff rather than the knife-sharp and short stuff…

I’ve been thinking I should practise writing flash fiction to hone my short-writing skills. Was inspired by this piece in The Guardian; I love the notion of “stories in your pocket”.

Related to short stories, a while ago I read David B. Coe’s post on Magical Words comparing novels vs short fiction in terms of the writing process. I wish I could learn to do this well:

This is the essence of writing a compelling short story: taking a situation, a moment in time, and giving it narrative structure so that it becomes something greater and more meaningful, something that feels complete. It is what I strive to do with my short fiction. When writing a short piece, I know that I can’t explain everything about my world or my characters or even my magic system. So I tell my readers the bare minimum of what they need to know and I try to allow my story to exist on its own terms.

Today I also wrote a poem draft during my walk to work and did some daydreaming for a potential fantasy trilogy (shhhh), so it’s been a surprisingly good writing day, all in all.


About Sara Norja

I'm a bilingual writer of prose and poetry. Things I enjoy apart from writing include tea, reading voraciously, cycling on warm summer nights, medieval manuscripts, dancing, and the wind.
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3 Responses to Short stories: the challenges of brevity

  1. I really enjoy writing short stories. I can finish them quickly and I like that I may be able to publish an anthology soon. Of course I want to focus mostly on novel length projects but you can’t beat a good short story :)

    • Sara Norja says:

      I’d like to improve at finishing short stories quickly – my problem is, I either do them almost in one sitting, or then they stagnate forever.

      Good luck with your potential anthology! I really love a good short story too, yes. They pack a totally different kind of punch than a novel does.

      • Thanks! As for wanting to finish a story in one sitting, I feel that way often. I’ve considered trying out flash fiction to see if that works.

        Maybe a combination of both, short stories and flash fiction. Who knows?

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