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When I stopped worrying about the word count, my first finished novella came in at 30,000 words. I wish I would have written more short stories years ago so I could have honed my craft early on.
With fewer scenes and subplots to focus on, you can focus more energy on each scene, your dialogue and word choice.
All of this helps you become better at catching inconsistencies, grammar mistakes and other story elements.
Write on what you care about, take the story in directions that excite and scare you, and don't be afraid to take chances. Putting our work out there to be read by people we don't know is terrifying, but stories have been a part of human culture for millennia.
Whether a successful published novelist or a creative writing student, all writers should try their hand at short stories at least a few times in their lives. Short fiction is an art form that differs from, say, telling a story at a dinner party, but it starts from the same seed: the story.
Sometimes, in the midst of a scene or character interaction, we're struck by inspiration.
If you found your theme in the process of writing, or realized that your narrative needs to hit certain beats to reach its complete arc, begin editing and revising the piece down from what might be a cumbersome starting point to a complete, powerful and (most importantly) intentional story. Your first and best resource is a writing community that is comprised of fellow writers that you trust to offer honest yet encouraging feedback.
So if your story is about a traffic accident that involves two couples in two cars and a police officer, your protagonist will be the single person who moves the narrative along.
Once you know who the story is really about, rewrite it from their point of view. It should compel, contain conflict, and introduce an “itch” the reader must scratch.
Let it sit, give yourself some mental space from your creation, and then return with fresh and critical eyes. This is all well and good if everything is flowing along smoothly, but what happens when you hit a storm? Do you give up and let the story be lost in the tempest? Trained writers have resources and tools to combat these moments of darkness and confusion. He's a teacher, writer, father and amateur mountain man.
On the other hand, writing the story without a plan, and discovering the narrative as you progress, is exciting and challenging. Either way, when you come to a conclusion, I recommend stepping away from the piece for a few days. Deus ex machinas encircle you like sharks armed with laser beams. Derrick Craigie serves as the associate dean of faculty for creative writing and literature at Southern New Hampshire University.