Posted in Short Story Writing

Exploring Short Stories

As some of you may have guessed, I’ve been thinking a lot about short stories lately. I write them often enough as I post one each week.

Well, I tend to write my Short Story Sundays well in advance because writing one short story per week can be a bit much at times.

It’s interesting how long short stories can be. And I’m not talking about the length of the story, I’m talking about how much time gets put into it.

My goal this month is to write two short stories. I’ve had these short story ideas in my head for a while now and just haven’t bothered to expand on them.

I plan on these two shorts to be longer than the typical ones I post on the blog. And, unfortunately, I won’t be posting these shorts on my blog. I want to submit them to a few places.

One thing I love about short stories is that you can explore a variety of genres. Just test the waters and see what you’re comfortable writing.

My main novel series is a mystery, but I plan on writing a mystery short story with George and Lilah as the main characters. I’ve been wanting to get back into writing the novel, as I haven’t worked on it in a long time.

Every time I look at it I get overwhelmed. I’ve been working on it for so many years and have so many notes and research and drafts for it that it’s just a lot. I have two notebooks, three folders, and a large accordion folder filled with things for the first novel as well as the series as a whole.

I decided to play around with the character in a short story and see where that takes me. It may not give me any ideas on where to go with the novel, but I’ll be learning more about the characters. Plus, there’s a mystery magazine that I’ve wanted to try submitting to for a long time and just haven’t. I’m going to make this short story be my opportunity.

The other short story I plan on writing will be… fantasy-ish? I think I could be considered sci-fi, but I’m not going to get into all the technical stuff about it.

This short story is actually based on a Short Story Sunday I did a long time ago and I’m finally going to expand upon it.

That story, if all goes well, I plan to submit to a place here or there as well.

So, this month is going to be all about short stories and as I talk about short stories, just know that I’m going to implementing those tips and tricks on my own writing.

We’ll see how it goes.

What genres of short stories do you write? Do you write them just for you or do you submit them elsewhere? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

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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.

54 thoughts on “Exploring Short Stories

  1. Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you said it takes a long time to write a short story. I have found it takes just as much work to write a short story as it does to write a book. I had originally started writing short stories and then after getting nowhere with them I started on my first book which I have since self published. Now I am back into writing short stories some of which have gone into Anthology’s. I have also had some in a couple of online magazines. So once again thank for this blog on short stories.

      1. I wanted to, but I had so many pens at home.
        It went all right. I had two classes. I like both my professors. The content also seems right up my alley. They’re both media courses. 🙂

  2. I like writing short horror stories. There’s this fellow online called Bogleech who does an annual short horror story contest. I’m to submit a few of them this year!

  3. I can relate! I write a lot of flash fiction (100-200 words) and just post it on my blog and boom, it’s done. But then I write short stories and suddenly I’m looking at 5,000-10,000 words and… wow, those are long enough that I actually have to think about plot outlines to keep everything straight! And it takes so much more time to revise. Plus my in-person critique groups do shorter bits, so it takes 2 to 4 sessions to get the whole thing critiqued, so that’s a month or longer before I even start the next round of revisions. Gee, now that I lay it out like that, I don’t feel so bad about not having some of these finished yet. 🙂 Good luck working on your short stories and sending them off, Rachel!

    1. Flash fiction is a lot of fun! There’s a certain “art” to it. And yeah, short stories are a lot of work between the full development but also cutting it all down to size.
      Remember, slow and steady wins the race. 😉
      Thank you!

  4. Hello! I was just about to post on my blog about my desire to write a couple of short stories before Halloween and then I found this post, how amazing. I’m mostly interested in writing Horror and Sci-Fi but as you said it, short stories are good to make you test the waters and try other genres. I’ll be following your blog. Happy writing!

    1. Thank you! Horror and Sci-Fi certainly aren’t my forte, but they are genres I want to try out. They’d definitely be interesting to explore.
      Good luck with your short stories and happy writing to you as well. 🙂

  5. Hey Rachel, loved this post! Thanks for sharing such a good stuff about writing short stories. I was planning to start sharing inspirational short stories to have some kind of a message which might inspire the readers in some way. I’m happy after reading your experience!! Happy Writing 🙂

  6. Love this post especially because I’ve been pondering those same thoughts. Funny thing is my stories were inspired by working in a cubicle/9-5 everyday for the past 4-5 years-which then turned into a 3 part series. It’s hilarious how the mind will do anything to keep itself entertained and more importantly, inspired. Thank you for your post!

  7. I started writing short stories only a couple months ago and its tough! I started off with writing stories based off events in my life. Then I wanted to try something more challenging and decided to go for more of the superhero/action genre. I eventually want to get into mystery and suspense. Any tips before I dive into the mystery genre?

    1. It is tough! It’s always good to start off with real events just to get the storytelling part down.
      Mystery and suspense are my favorite. I can try to answer any specific questions you have, but I do write a series of posts on the mystery genre during “Mystery Month” on this blog. You can check it out under the categories if you’d like.

  8. I have been attempting to write for some time. The plan has always been to put all my wonderful ideas into a novel. As you know it just isn’t that easy. I have begun and given up so many times that I have lost count. But recently I have really been making progress, I have been writing more than ever and producing small snippets of quality work here an there that will hopefully one day turn into a sharable story worth submitting.

    I am going to try and turn my old and barely used blog into a site where I share character back stories. Little shorts that keep me moving in the right direction, and hopefully get me over my fears of sharing what I have written. I hope to also find helpful criticism and a few friends along the way.

    Just found your blog, and am already a fan. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Writing is hard. Enough said.
      I’m glad you’re starting to write more though. I think that’s a great use of your blog as well. That’s why I started mine way back when. I wanted to share more of my original work. It was scary at first, but now it’s just “normal.” 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by and good luck with your writing!

  9. I wholeheartedly agree! I’ve only ever written short stories and the planning takes a week and writing it takes ages considering how much of the brief scenes I’ve made a note of and editing takes a month. OK. i know. a month. i actually read somewhere that before hitting post/send put your piece through this test. every week come back and edit till there’s nothing left to edit. it helps a great deal, even if it is quite time consuming.

    and to answer your questions:
    I don’t have a fixed genre of short stories. I write about anything and everything.
    I have a piece on wattpad, some i submit (They’re pending right now! fingers crossed!) and now i’m starting a blog as a six month project where one month i post a short story and the next an essay for people struggling with panic disorders or simply to raise awareness about panic attacks and anxiety

    1. Yes! Just because they’re shorter doesn’t mean their easier. They’re time consuming.
      Good luck with what you’ve submitted! I have a couple pieces out there too. Fingers crossed for both of us!
      Also, as someone who suffers from GAD, I approve of your blog topic. 😉
      Thank you for stopping by and adding your input. 🙂

      1. I feel short stories are underrated as a whole.

        thank you! Don’t you just hate waiting?

        awww you’re the sweetest! i can’t wait to post the ones talking about mental illness!

        oh no worries! pleasure was all mine love xo

      2. I agree. And I’ll admit that even I don’t read enough short stories. I’m trying to change that.
        Yes, the waiting part is definitely the worst.

  10. Hi Rachel,

    So I will start with the fact that I enjoyed reading your post.

    What about your novel? You have been spending so much on it, folders, notebooks, time. Is it not ready yet? Or are you trying to polish it more and more? I always up for making things perfect but something that was perfect few years ago might not be perfect anymore. And then you will just stay in a wheel that rotates on itself.

    If you publish your novel right now, will you like it? Would it be good the way it is? Or are you just going back because you are unsure of it?

    Just thoughts to be honest.

    1. I’m still working on my novels, yeah. I currently have three novels that I’m working on. My mood shifts a lot and I never know which one to stick with. But I’ve made deadlines for myself and I’m determined to stick with that.
      I appreciate your words though because you’re right. There have been a lot of things I’ve wanted to do/try and fear has kept me back. So I’m trying. 🙂

  11. New reader here! Yes your totally write (whoops I mean right :D) it’s very time consuming putting a short story together- even if it is only a few thousand words. I’ll be checking your stories out 🙂

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