The Top 10 Reasons to Write Short Stories

We love short stories at Writers Write. We’ve recently added posts about short story competitions and a list of our Top 20 Short Story Quotes. We’ve had a great response. We’ve also been asked this question - Why write short stories? - so many times that I decided to list 10 reasons to write short stories.

  1. Practice. Short stories are an excellent way to develop a story with a beginning, middle, and ending. They are also easier to finish than novels. [Cut To The Chase - 3 Ways To Get Your Short Story Started]
  2. It's a cellular world. Readers have smaller screens and shorter attention spans. You may reach a different market with your short stories. Literary journals, online journals, and consumer magazines, which are often read online, publish short stories.
  3. Get connected. Short stories are a great way to write for the Internet. You can develop e-book anthologies and series stories. You can do this by starting a blog and posting instalments.
  4. A way to start. Many great writers started by writing short stories. Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, and Mark Twain became famous novelists, but they honed their craft publishing short stories. [How To Outline A Short Story - For Beginners]
  5. Experiment. A short story is a good way to try a different genre without putting 80 000 words, which have to be revised, rewritten and reworked, on paper. You may find that your voice is suited to a completely different type of story.
  6. Build a reputation. Short stories are a good way to help you build up a body of work. This shows publishers that you are a working writer. Fiction magazines that publish short stories are often read by reviewers, publishers, and editors.
  7. Competitions. Entering short story contests could jump start your career. Winning a prestigious competition, or having a story included in an anthology, is good for your resume and your ego. You may even win some money. You also get feedback on entries in some competitions. This is almost unheard of when you submit novels today. [10 Writing Contests You Should Definitely Enter]
  8. Improve your concentratation. Short stories force you to get to the point. The lack of sub-plots, as well as a limited number of characters, makes it easier to concentrate on the plot. This is good for writers who need to stop filling their novels with back story.
  9. Nobel reasons. Alice Munro, a short story writer, won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature. [Six Quite Interesting Facts About The Nobel Prize For Literature]
  10. Love. Write short stories because you love writing.  

If you want to find out about Writers Write’s short story course, Short Cuts, email news@writerswrite.co.za for details. 

Look at this list of Literary Journals for places to submit your short story. We’ve heard that The Puffin Review is looking for short stories, as are these publishers. You can find a list of publishers who publish short stories here

Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  LinkedIn, and  Twitter.

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© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Finding Inspiration for a Short Story - Three writers who inspire me
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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.
24 responses
Great post. I love writing short stories & flash fiction - it seems to be my thing at the moment.
All of these are wonderful reasons, but #10 is the best! :)
Most of the reasons you list are about using short stories as a path to the "real" writing. That's kind of sad, don't you think? Number 10 is great, but even all the articles about Munro's Nobel find it necessary to explain why she writes stories instead of novels. In one edition of the BASS, the editor said she wrote short stories because she didn't love her characters enough to give them novels. Stegnor said that short stories use up all our beginnings. I could believe it about those writers, but Munro proves she has a lot more love to share and a lot more beginnings—more stories and she loves them all! I think short stories demand much of us and some writers have much more to give.
Agree with Jan. This is akin to saying that it's a good idea to write poetry so you might one day become a songwriter for Beyonce... Short stories are a medium unto themselves.
I write short stories. Maybe even "Micro-Stories" for my Agent 54 blog. I would like for you to check out my short stories and give me some advice. And if you can't do that, send cards and letters with Checks and Cash. Thank you.
Nice points. Agree.
These are awesome points :)
stops my brain seizing up
I've always been a staunch supporter of short stories. This post is a perfect argument, and I hope it inspires more authors to write more meaning into their writing in less words.
Concur with all your summations. I love writing short stories. I am in my seventies and in U3A writing group. Will read this out to the group as encouragement for beginners.
Good ideas.
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