In the past I’ve done a couple posts abot how I write for novels, but I decided since I’ve been writing a lot of short stories for scholarship and magazine submissions that I’d share with you all how I write all my short stories. To let you know, it is an extremely different process.
So, I haven’t been published in anything yet for a short story, but this last school year, my senior year, I won a scholarship for a short story I wrote to my region’s branch of the National League of American Pen Women. That was amazing for me, but I had to read the story at a brunch so that was a little nerve wrecking, although it was a great experience.
A little bit of advice on this subject: please don’t be afraid to submit work to any scholarship, contest, or what not. Yeah, it’s completely embarrassing for a lot of people to share their personal work, including me, like my parents and grandma were the only ones that have read some of my work until then. However, it is totally worth it in the end, so if you’re waiting for the right time to submit something, take this as your push to do it, whether it’s a scholarship or a magazine submission or even a whole manuscript to a publisher. Just do it. The possibility out weighs any rejection.
Also, the only other thing I’ve submitted was a short story to a literary magazine for teens earlier this month and I’m still waiting for a reply. *fingers crossed*
Without boring you with any more personal information, here’s how I write my short stories:
Ok, so that’s not entirely all there is to it, but that’s the gist. Really all it is picking up a pencil or putting your hands on a keyboard.
I do not outline short stories. This really different to how I do novels because for those I have the entire story mapped out, like I’ll literally draw a map. For short stories, I’ll just start writing, find the flow of the story, and give myself a rough estimate as to how I would like the story to end, but nothing more.
For my work in progress, a piece I plan to submit to this huge, nation-wide writing contest for sci-fi and fantasy (I’m a little terrified, even if I win because I may have to give a speech in front of a HUGE audience) I know nothing. This story is one I completely pulled out of nowhere, and I have two different directions I would want to take the story in, so I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen.
Why? Because It’s so much fun. I love being surprised where my characters are going to take me and what is going to happen every time I sit down to write. I feel like it adds a little more to the story because it’s so action packed and something different is always happened, though in a logical pattern. I find this best for short stories as you only have so many words to tell the story in and it needs to be concise, but still have depth and dimension.
I also think that this path for writing keeps me far more interested and invested in the story, especially while writing because there’s so much anticipation as to what’s coming next. It’s almost like reading a book for the first time that you knew nothing about, but it’s yours. I love it.
The story I am writing right now cannot be any longer than 17,000 words and has to be sci-fi or fantasy. I went down the sci-fi route this time to shake things up as I rely more on fantasy. It involves war and aliens and made up planets and I’m really loving it. For the contest, the authors retain all publication rights, so I may fix it up even more, lengthen it, and attempt to find a publisher… I’m not entirely sure. There were two different characters with different backgrounds in completely different tellings of the main story that I wanted to write, so I might just combine them both in the future now that I think about it.
So my main piece of advice, just sit down, write the dang story, and send it off somewhere, anywhere. Why not, right?
Let me know down below any techniques you have, or just anything about anything, I love to hear from you guys! Thanks for reading!