The other week I mentioned writing novels. You might remember, I suggested that if you want to write fiction you’ll probably be much better taking a look at writing short stories than novels.
Here’s why: Page for page, word for word, you’ll probably make a lot more from writing a short story than a novel. Apart from that there’s a lot less work involved. So, if your story fails to find a buyer, you won’t have lost much time. (Unlike if you spend five years writing a novel which nobody wants to publish …. not recommended!)
Plotting for a short story is also much simpler too. You don’t need the complex character portraits and twists and turns that you get in a novel. Although like most fiction a short story should ideally end with a twist in the tale …. or is it tail! When starting on your short story your reader shouldn’t be able to guess instantly how it is going to end.
Short stories based on a real life story turned into fiction can be a good place to start. In other words, write about something that happened to you and embellish it a little! And change a few names to protect the innocent!
Although there’s a fair bit of demand for short stories there tend to be a couple of areas which are more interested in short stories than others:
* Women’s magazines. Though not every women’s magazine publishes fiction so always check before you send anything. These tend to be romantic fiction short stories.
* Children’s short stories. This is probably one of the best areas of demand. So many angles have been covered that there is always interest in something new ….. or something traditional with a new twist.
* Mystery, horror and crime. Demand for these types of stories mostly comes from the USA. (Just as with any other type of writing there’s nothing to stop you writing for buyers abroad. They’re often delighted to get a different perspective from a foreign writer.)
How long should a short story be? Well, there are short stories from as little as 1,000 words to as much as 10,000 words. Be guided by the stories your buyer has already published.
Whatever your short story is about work out your story line first. Make sure there is enough mileage in the plot to fill the given length of the story without padding – or without having to cut things short in the last few paragraphs. Balance your plot throughout the story too.
Don’t use chapters in a short story. If you can, go for lots of short paragraphs to keep things moving along.
If you’re interesting in selling a short story and have either written one – or have an idea for one – you might find this useful: Make Money Writing Short Stories