Writing Short Stories vs. Novels

This week on Hide and Create Moses Siregar, Diana Rowland, Jordan Ellinger and Joshua Essoe discuss the differences between writing a short story and writing a novel.

The old advice was to train yourself writing short fiction, then graduate to novel-length works. The short fiction market was an easier sell, you could cut your teeth in publishing doing that while you worked up to your magnum opus.

That’s no so true anymore. Short story markets have decline greatly in the last couple decades, and the ones that are left are overwhelmed with submissions for their limited space. Just like novel publishers.

So what’s the advantage of writing short? Why not just write long? There’s more money in it and it’s no more difficult, right?

I advise all writers to learn how to write short. It will teach you brevity and will teach you power. You can practice technique, voice, theme and genre, try them all out and find what’s right for you. You can finish, submit, get feedback, sell, and do it rapidly, and start building up deposits in the “Maybe I Can Do This” bank. It is wonderful training, not for writing novels, but for being a writer.

4 thoughts on “Writing Short Stories vs. Novels

  1. Thanks for a great discussion, particularly where you’ve encountered that self-critical inertia that develops before editing bigger projects. It’s something I’ve found difficult, so it’s encouraging to hear where you’ve then pushed through despite it.

    1. The little voice in your head is a boon as long as you don’t let it get away from you. Mostly it’s good to listen to, it keeps you working, but sometimes the bugger needs ignoring. Don’t let it tell you you’re no good. Save that for your editor. ;-)

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