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Challenge Yourself with Short Stories

Once again, May is Short Story Month. And once again I try to challenge myself to write shorter works of fiction. It’s the lucky 13th year of celebration for short story month just like every other year, when I challenge myself to write a short story…I tend to fall short (pun definitely intended)

The only time I have been able to write a short story has been fanfiction. Whenever I had to write a short story for school I’d get so excited I’d commit myself to too big of a plot, too big of a story. I’m surprised I can even write blog posts under three thousand words, because I’m quite the rambler.

photo of woman taking notes
Photo by Ivan Samkov on

I’m a story teller at heart, but I need to learn to reign it in that creative spark. You know the one that makes you have a million plot bunnies and hundreds of ideas? The one that makes you question your current story while dreaming about another? I believe short stories are a great way to hone that skill of focus without committing to a huge project.

Take for instance you’re someone who loves plots but tend to have so many plot holes. You can see them in movies and books and when they’re in yours you get so disappointed. A short story gives you a way to practice sealing up plot holes without that 50K commitment.

Short stories can be sprints. They can be sketches and warm ups.

serious lady looking at sketch during painting in workshop
Photo by Evelina Zhu on

I always had difficulties with warm ups because they felt like the were wasting my creative time, but over the years I’ve learned that they’re just as important as the final products. You don’t go into a championship game without practice. You don’t become a better artist without practice. The same goes with being a writer. So don’t be afraid to do them.

This year I have some confidence that I’ll be able to write a short story. One of my favorite video games, Mass Effect, came out with a remastered version of the series, and that series was one of my first adventures into fanfiction. I wrote series to thousand word one shots.

As always, I challenge you to write a short story yourself. Find a challenge or competition online and write the prompt. Enter into a contest while working out your writing muscles. Step outside your comfort zone, like I am, and try it out. Let me know in the comments below if you like short stories. Have you ever entered a short story contest? I would love to hear from you.

Note: I plan to have an extra post this week, updating about my personal life since last week my personal life forced me to take a week off. Also I plan to release my first newsletter! So keep an eye out for both.

4 thoughts on “Challenge Yourself with Short Stories

    • awriterbee says:

      My biggest tip is revision and practice. Learning to write effectively comes with time and the best way to practice is to write, revise, write, and revise. Break down who your audience is and what you want to get across and in your revision make sure you target that. I don’t like writing focusing specifically on effectiveness in your first drafts, but that’s what revision is for! I hope that helps. I can write a whole post on effective writing from the world of advertising in the near future. I think that might help you as well! It’ll be on my list. Thanks!

  1. Terveen Gill says:

    Writing and reading short stories are really fun. They’re like Hershey’s Kisses, small but flavorful. And sometimes one isn’t enough. And very economical, time wise. Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

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