Short stories are a fantastic creative outlet for those who have a story to tell, but who do not want to be married to a novel-length document. Some writers choose to take a writing course before beginning a project, but that is not necessary for all. Certain guidelines will help the writer stay on track so they can create a good story. Studying the short story market is imperative. Marketing is also very important and can be done through the mail or online. Writers should also be networking every day.
Writing a story that people want to read is the mission. The would-be author should read other short stories to understand the craft. Stories written by authors and in genres that the writer enjoys will be most beneficial for learning purposes. Another tip for new writers is to look for story ideas in everyday life. Sometimes, a major life event will spark a story idea.
The story should begin with vivid details of the main character(s), the setting, and the time period. The action should come early in the story, with the turning point or climax coming after that. The conclusion should leave the reader contented. The writer will want the reader to look for his or her titles again! The author should show the story to a trusted friend before sending it off for publication. Opinions can be very valuable. Above all, the author must edit and ensure that no grammar, punctuation, or other mechanical mistakes have been made.
The writer should study the short story market to find what is being published. If the writer has a propensity toward a certain author or genre, the writer should be reading that author for formatting ideas. Each publication has its own set of manuscript formatting requirements. Follow them closely when submitting your work. Most publications do not accept manuscripts that have been submitted elsewhere, so only submit each short story manuscript to one publisher at a time. This is a good reason to write and circulate more than one story at a time. The new author must also include a letter of introduction where the author and the story are introduced. Publishers are not known for answering quickly, so be patient and keep writing!
Some publishers have been around for decades. Studying writer’s markets will help the author understand the business. Two publishers that have been trustworthy over the years are Writer's Digest and The Writer Magazine.
Online markets are plentiful. Some pay, some do not. Story Write offers a writing social network. Writers can also keep their copyrights, and sell their books, and the site offers free writing classes. Another possibility is Booksie.
Writing short stories can be very gratifying for the creative writer. Getting to know the formats and the market will help the future author navigate through the writing and publishing process. Technology has made marketing creative writing much easier and pleasant. Networking with like-minded writers online will keep the writer motivated to write and to market.
Written by Beth Calvano