When I first started writing, all my ideas ran on for hundreds of pages. That changed when I woke up one morning a few years ago with a complete short story in my head. The two thousand words only took me two hours to write and polish. As I was used to slogging over the computer for months, it was a wonderful feeling to complete a story so fast. My critique partners loved the story, so I decided it was worth submitting to a magazine in the hope they loved it as well. I chose My Weekly in the UK, as I knew the magazine published romances with a touch of supernatural or fantasy.
The editor at My Weekly did love the story and bought it (much to my amazement). Not only was this satisfying in itself, I realised what a useful promotional tool short stories could be. The magazine allowed the author to include a short bio with the story, which gave the opportunity to mention published novels and include a website address.
Short stories also provide the ideal format to try different techniques. I’ve often thought of writing a book in first person, but not wanted to risk all the time and effort involved in writing a long novel in first person, only to discover it doesn’t work for me. But I’m quite happy to take an hour or two to write one or two thousand words in first person, or present tense, to see how it sounds.
Some of the magazines also encourage trying unusual techniques, such as all dialogue. The short form is the ideal place to try all those techniques you’d like to try but never get around to. It’s also so much fun! I have many ideas swimming around inside my head and instead of having to finish 80,000 words or more before I can start a new story, I can write a new one every day if each is only a few thousand words.
Try bite-sized fiction. It’s instant gratification for writers.
The first short fantasy romance I wrote, Jack’s Garden, is now available as a free read on the Dorchester Website. Find the page by following the link on my website at www.helenscotttaylor.com or from my author page on www.dorchesterpub.com.
For more details of my contemporary fantasy romance series and to read book excerpts go to www.helenscotttaylor.com.