Today is the anniversary of my first blog post!
My first blog post was about the Flash. Last year I recapped every episode of Flash and Arrow. What did I learn? Full TV recaps are time consuming and accurate recapping is hard.
Will I do TV recaps this season? No. I’m going to focus more on writing. I also want to enjoy TV again. The Flash is fun so far, and I like where Arrow is going. Last year I was so focused on blogging that I didn’t enjoy watching as much.
I’ll occasionally post about interesting episodes, but most of my TV stuff will be moved to Tumblr so I can rave about how great Supergirl is, post observations as I re-watch Merlin, and geek out in my own time!
A quick recap of what I’ve accomplished in a year:
Set up a blog: I designed my logo from scratch using Photoshop, and I’m pretty proud of that.
Participated in NaNoWrimo: I tried to write a first draft without a plan. Pretty much all of it needs a rewrite, but I learned a lot!
Recapped nearly 50 TV episodes and wrote 42 short stories.
Networked on Twitter/WordPress and made some cool friends.
Anyway, I’ve learned a lot in my first year of blogging, but I want to focus on short story writing:
Sunday Scribbles: Background.
When I chose to pursue writing seriously last year, I realised I was rusty. I misused your/you’re and it’s/its. I told too much. I misused dialogue tags. Then, I started Sunday Scribbles.
I started Sunday Scribbles as part of the 52 week writing challenge, where I vowed to write a short story a week. I set weekly writing prompts and run a #game on Twitter, #sunscribbles. I also encourage sharing of short stories under the #, so long as they aren’t buy links.
So, how can writing short stories help you as a writer?
1: Practice. It helps improve your writing.
The more you write, the better you become. If you post stories and you’re lucky you might get feedback. This is invaluable to any writer, especially if you’re making basic errors like mixing up ‘your/you’re.’ (I had that mistake pointed out by a reader of my fan fiction last year!)
Love dialogue but hate description? Practice description by writing a short story based on a photograph. Hate dialogue? Write a short story in a cafe or park and listen to people talk as they pass by. How do they actually speak? Writing short stories helps you practice!
2: It helps you discover your style.
Not sure what type of writer you are? No problem. Short stories allow you to experiment. Not sure if you want to write in first person? Give it a try. I did, even though I hate reading first person stories. I’ve discovered I prefer third person, and I love descriptions to be brief and meaningful. I also love short paragraphs and lots of witty dialogue.
3: Short stories allow you to experiment with different genres.
I’ve always been a fantasy writer. I love dragons, kingdoms, and magic. Writing short stories has allowed me to expand my horizons without committing to a novel in an unfamiliar genre. Through my short stories I’ve developed a love for humour and anything a bit odd and quirky. My favourites are: Guardian of Dreams, Pizza Assassin and The Graffiti Fought Back. I’ll experiment with horror next!
4: Posting short stories allows you to practice editing.
Each Sunday Scribbles story takes the whole day to finish, including editing. If I’m writing flash fiction the story takes less time to edit, but it varies. Sometimes I’ll edit 500 words in 15 minutes. Other times 100. Either way, posting weekly short stories keeps my editing skills sharp, so when it comes to editing my novel I won’t be so overwhelmed.
5: It teaches you to be succinct.
I used to waffle a lot as a writer. Writing short stories has taught me how to fit a lot of story into a lot less words. Writing Flash Fiction is especially useful practise as I aim to write those in under 1000 words. My book chapters used to be 8000 words long. Now, they are half that.
6: Short stories can give you ideas for new stories.
Most of my novel ideas come from Sunday Scribbles prompts. I have 5+ short stories I want to expand to full novels. Writing short stories is inspirational: You might fall in love with the characters or plot and have your next big idea. My NaNoWriMo 2017 project is based on: ‘A Wizard in the Year 3000.’ Since then, I’ve written four other short stories in the same universe!
Writing short stories is something I’d recommend to any writer looking to hone their craft, practice editing, or who struggles with ideas for their next novel. If you need a prompt, join me for Sunday Scribbles. I post prompts a week in advance on my blog.
How about you? Do you write short stories? Share your favourite one below!