1. jjonz
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    jjonz New Member

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    Short Stories for Newbies?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jjonz, Sep 27, 2011.

    I read that this (Short Stories) is the best place to start writing if you have never written a Novel before. I also know some Authors who went from stripping @ night clubs to penning Novels in less than 11 months.

    So which approach should a newbie attempt, a book of 8-10 short stories with 5,000 words each(between 40-50,000 words), or shoot for the 80,000+ worded Novel?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Short stories and novels are quite different, and it takes some different skill sets to do each effectively. I don't think there is any reason to start with short stories if you want to write novels. Write what you want :)
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Agreed. Short stories are entirely different to novels- writing a novel in summary would not be a short story. They can be useful to first time writers, as they don't take as long to complete as a first draft, but they shouldn't be mistaken for an easy starter form. A good short story can be every bit as difficult, if not more so, as a novel.
     
  4. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Both are different forms of art.
    IMO write what the story makes you.

    SS require quick characterization and conflict resolution. Novels require indepth characterization and prolonged conflict resolution.
    Both must be done so the reader wants to keep going, and when done feels they did not waste their time.

    I think an author can learn to do both, much like a guitarist can learn another instrument, similar but not the same.
    I started writing prose, another art form, that requires razor sharp words to get to the point, getting a feeling across in as few words as possible, but with
    focus.
    Prose-20-300 words, short story-a few hundred to a few thousand, novel-50,000-80,000 words. All similar, not the same.

    Would you believe someone that said if you want to learn to play guitar you should try ukulele?
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also: you do not just jump into publishing a book of short stories right off the bat. They are a good way to get into being published because you send them off one at a time to different magazines and so on. Books of short stories by new authors do worse than books of poetry, I heard somewhere. There's a difference between writing thematically-linked or even character-linked short stories in a book - from the other point of view a very fragmentary novel, perhaps. Anyway, don't just assume they're similar even in publishing lines. It's good to write a lot of short stories and get them out there, but don't expect anyone other than you and your mum to collect the full set before you're well known.
     
  6. hyperchord24
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    hyperchord24 Member

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    See, I've been striggling with this conflict as well. George RR Martin says that you shouldn't start a novel (or a trilogy or a series) without having completed a few short stories first. It'd be like trying to tackle mount everest if you've never climbed a mountain before. I'm struggling with that analogy. But he says once you've sold some short stories, publishers will ask you about that first novel. The more I think about it, the more I think he was BSing and assuming people just want to write a book like JK Rowling or Meyer did and make lots of money.

    There are plenty of writers who just started writing novels and plenty who just started short stories first (I should know, I've read a TON of author biographies).

    As for me, most of my ideas are novel ideas. Indepth character development, complicated plot. I'm trying to write just short stories (if for nothing else, to enjoy the feeling of completing something), but I can't do it. This novel idea I've had is about to explode out of me.
     
  7. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    I think there's something to be gained either way. Starting out with short stories won't really hurt you as far as producing a novel. Using the music analogy, if you learn the play the piano, it's much easier to grasp playing the guitar than without the knowledge of the piano. Learning the ropes as far as writing short stories won't really harm your ability to write a novel; in fact, it may improve it. That's not to say they are the same instruments; there are still things you can do on the piano that you can't on the guitar and vice versa. But having the knowledge of one, I think, assists the other. Definitely where musical instruments are concerned.

    With that said, is it the best way to start out? I think that depends. Writing something is probably the best way to start out, whether it's a short story or an attempted novel. The more you write, the easier it becomes and the more you learn. And in the end, that's what it really is, at least for me: a process to learn more. If you can get rich and famous and entertain thousands of people along the way, that's just extra. :)
     
  8. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Sorry, I missed part of your post when I replied before.

    You will not as an unpublished author be able to get a short story collection published. It just doesn't happen. Collections don't sell as well as novels, so a publisher won't take a risk on one unless they know you have a proven track record. If you want to publish short stories, then you need to be looking at journals, magazines and anthologies. www.duotrope.com is the place to start.
     
  9. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    As Melzaar said, dont try and get them all published in a compilation. Send them in individually and hope for the best. A compilation is more for when you have many, successful stories out there, and then, and only then, would you start looking into that.
     
  10. jjonz
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    jjonz New Member

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    As far as quick action/short attention spand of my Audience currently(teens/tweens/children) i need to learn how to write Quick action oriented pieces, with 3 stanza's. I was told to read Anton Checkov for illustration's on how to write Short Stories, time did not allow me to read any of his stories. However, i think i found a great place to start for a short story. I will have one short story done by Sunday & let the direction of the stories tell me how to continue.

    Thanks for all of the Help.
     
  11. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    There is no best approach to writing. Do whatever you think is necessary.
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with bansai and steerpike. Plus I don't see the point in starting off with short stories, okey maybe if you have Never written any kind of story before at all, but to me it sounds a little like training intensely for a 100m-sprint if your goal is to run a marathon. Just start writing whatever comes to mind without worrying about how long it is going to be. Just write stories. the important is to write. And don't obsess about your first attempt being publishable. Practice makes perfect.
     
  13. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I do believe what I wrote, but on another similiar thread, Mommaia said something worth considering:

    Writing several short stories in weeks that can be reviewed and corrected will get you more experience, then the one bad novel that takes months/a year to write.

    (Except if you submit a chapter or two to reviewers.)

    Personally, I do a mixture. I write prose, SS, and novels. I submit what I consider my better and most interesting work for review(almost always if its a short story.)
    I also frequent many of these forums, and learn from others comments/mistakes.
    I know I am not great...yet, But I am not writing to be published formost, but for my enjoyment, with the goal of improving what I write.

    Remember, anyone with $100 can be published, or anyone with a websight can be published(some free). Published and people wanting to read what you wrote is what I consider the ultimate goal. Thats why self publishing is not for me.

    Actually, I guess I am published, I have nearly a hundred Prose and several Short stories on Deviantart. I am not a professional author though.
     
  14. YoungCreature
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    YoungCreature Member

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    Just write! That's it. That's all. Write. Write. Write.
     
  15. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I personally started writing for the first time, ever, about two months ago. The first month was all planning and note taking on stuff I made up. I wrote the first three chapters in less than a week. But the last three weeks have all been editing/learning. I will not move on to the next chapter until these are perfect, for many of the same reasons people are telling you to write short stories first. Essentially with my self-editing I am also self-teaching at the same time. Of course, with the help of all the lovely people on this forum as well.

    So it is my opinion that you should start where you want -be it short story or novel. Just don't get too far ahead of yourself until you have learned a good amount first. I am very glad I stopped where I did, having to edit 200k words would be dreadful. So again, learn as much as possible before you get to far along that its too daunting to fix.
     

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