Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

Why I’m Writing Short Stories for NaNoWriMo

I’m sure most of you know by now that I’m writing short stories for NaNoWriMo this year.

I tend to write whatever I want during the Camp months because they’re more flexible, but I like to stick to the “rules” of writing 50,000 words of a brand new novel in November.

I tried to write short stories last year for November and it didn’t go over that well. I can’t remember if I won or not, but I don’t think I did. It was hard and I said, “Well, I tried something different. Next year I’ll stick to my novels.”

So why did I change my mind?

It’s not that I changed my mind, I just had completely forgotten I told myself to stick to novels during November until just the other day.

I decided to write short stories this year for a number of reasons…

1. Short stories are “easier”

Short stories are not easy to write, but I think writing a novel is harder. Some people may agree or disagree with me and that’s fine. But short stories are smaller in the word count and there’s not as much planning as a novel. Sure, it’s difficult to wrap up a conflict in a short amount of pages, but overall I think it’s “easier” than writing a novel.

2. To get ahead for 2017

I’ve been trying to plan ahead for my blogs for 2017. There’s a lot that I want to do and the only way I’m going to get it all done is if I can get some things done right now. If I don’t have to worry about taking the time to sit and write a few thousand words every so often, that would be a huge weight off my shoulders. Any writing time can be spent working on my novels next year.

3. New novel ideas

The short stories I’ve written so far (I have January through May completely done and the other months are half done) vary in genre. I’ve written mystery, mainstream, memoir, poetry, and fantasy. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with the different genres. It’s great practice and the best part is I think I’ll be turning some of those short stories into novels someday. One story in particular (I think it’s a July short) I already have mostly planned out for a novel.

4. To submit to contests and magazines

I’ve been getting serious with submitting my work lately. I’ve submitted to magazines and a few contests at least once a month since August. I currently have two short stories out in the world that I’m waiting to hear back. I hope to keep that trend up and hope that something comes from it. I’ve written a few shorts so far that I think will be worthy of magazines some day in the near future.

Here’s a reason as to why I love writing short stories for NaNo: I don’t get burned out as easily.

Last Thursday I attempted to write 10,000 words and I ended up with 10,095 (I was pretty tired afterwards). I don’t remember how many shorts I wrote (most are about 1,000 words, but some are as long as 2,000 and as short as 500), but after every break I went back to writing something completely brand new.

There was no thinking, “Where do I go from here?” or, “What should my characters do next?” I just grabbed a prompt and went with it.

My word count is currently at 40,000 words. I have 10,000 more to go. I wanted to finish by Thanksgiving, but if I keep my 2,000 words a day trend up, I’ll reach 50,000 words on Friday the 18th.

And let me tell you, it’s been a wonderful thing.

Have you ever tried to write something else other than a novel during NaNo? How did it go? How is NaNo going for you this year? Let me know in the comments!

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

16 thoughts on “Why I’m Writing Short Stories for NaNoWriMo

  1. I hadn’t thought of this, and I’m glad YOU did. I think it’s a great idea. I have a ton of shorts sitting in a drawer and I enjoy writing them. Let us know when yours get accepted!

  2. I have been working on a novel since August and I could probably get it done in two weeks time (done enough to edit). Anyway I only just arrived him this month and we have a series of crazy…November has never worked out for me writing wise. And like you said novels pull away from our blogs, a habit more needy than my infant daughter. 😉

  3. I haven’t tried NaNo, but I feel you on the short stories. I write short stories because it’s easier for me. There’s not as much preparation as a novel would entail. I also like the fact that a short story forces you to be a bit more direct. There’s not as many words you can put into a short story. Every word has to count and mean something.

    My genre of choice in writing short stories is literary fiction. I tried other genres, only to learn the short story format doesn’t always work with certain genres. It’s still worth trying, but I’m someone who needs to know the “rules” of genres before I start writing in them.

    I applaud you for writing short stories for NaNo. I don’t think I could come up with the number of stories necessary to meet the 50k word count. I am working on finishing some stories I started months ago, as well as work on a new story. Hopefully, I will get them all done. And in doing so, I want to submit them to contests and magazines.

    Good luck, Rachel!

    1. I agree. Short stories are to the point and they are a fun challenge to write because you have to cover everything in such a short amount of time.
      I also agree that it’s hard to write in certain genres for shorts. The few shorts that I feel can be novels have been fantasy ones that I’ve written so far. They’re still fun all the same, though.
      Thanks, good luck to you as well!

      1. That’d be a good idea. I think I might start doing it during at least one of the sessions each year to build up ideas and Short Story Sundays for the blog.

  4. I’m leaving the short stories for next year’s short story writing challenge. I’ll have more about that in a video soon. Maybe. Hopefully. We’ll see.

    In some ways, short stories are easier. It’s as you say. Grab a prompt and go. No worrying about what your characters are going to do next. My problem is the fact that they want to turn into novel ideas, and I already have enough of those.

    I love your reasoning for doing short stories though. Congrats on being so far ahead!

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