On Short Stories

I’m feeling the need to branch out beyond writing my epically long novels. Not leaving them behind, of course, but broadening my horizons. This isn’t an uncommon thought for me; I usually realize this about every 18 months.

It’s excellent practice. For one, it teaches you how to fit as much as possible in as little as possible, which should be happening in novel writing anyway. And it can help refresh your creativity and brain after being so hyper-focused on one storyline and set of characters. And all of this without committing to another epically long novel!

Besides that, it’s a good idea if you’re interested in traditionally publishing. An agent will like it if you’ve got several short story publications under your belt. And you’ve got to write the short stories for that to happen.

I have no shortage of ideas, but I find it difficult to make them… short. I need the practice.


illustrated by Pyon Dattebayo

Maybe I’ll start with Novellas.

About R. K. Brainerd

I've been writing since my pre-teens, mostly in the realm of fantasy and sci-fi. Taking interesting concepts and dropping complex characters into fantastical worlds is my jam. I also raise dairy goats and herd cats, the evidence of which can be found on my Instagram. Welcome to the adventure. View all posts by R. K. Brainerd

2 responses to “On Short Stories

  • Arpita

    For me, writing a short story is easier than a novel, and I have self-published an ebook of ten stories. And just because I am in the habit of writing shorts, I’m no good in longer works. I might have started around 5 novels by now, but not completed any. How do you think I could improve this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • R. K. Brainerd

      Ooo. This is a very good question. Let me think…

      Well, the first thing that comes to mind is what someone once told me: a novel is a lot of short stories put together. The second thing that comes after that, is that for me, I have a hard time letting characters go. I keep writing about them because I love them. Do you have a character(s) that you absolutely love and want to keep writing about? Maybe start there… and then, I think maybe outlining would be your best bet after that. If you build a big, giant world with a quest/story in it, it may be easier to start writing out longer.

      Actually. I guess the real question is: do you have trouble keeping steam on a story, to keep writing it and you end up stopping? Or does what you write just naturally wrap up as a short story?


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