I lurked on these forums for awhile, and then I registered and lurked some more. For all my searching I’ve not found satisfying answers to some questions I have, so I decided to ask them and figured I would introduce myself as well. I am brand new to writing. I want to write novels in the future, but am content writing short stories for now. I read short stories as often as possible and I try to write one – or start one, at least – every day. I like to think they’re getting better as I write more. I’m having difficulties with things which seem common amongst new writers, if not all writers, according to what I’ve read on the forums. I recently started journaling, though I am terrible about actually doing it. I’ve noticed that the things worth writing about are things I would rather not revisit. I will work on this, though. Anyway, on to the questions … I understand that 1st person POV/voice is supposed to be the most difficult voice in which to write, especially for the new writer, but it seems the overwhelming majority of short stories I’ve read were written in 1st person. I could see how the complexity of novels could make caring for the authenticity of the POV difficult. My instinct tells me to practice writing short stories in 1st person, and then practice 3rd person for novel purposes later. 1) Are the difficulties of 1st person POV associated more with novels than short stories? 2) Does anyone have personal experience or knowledge they could share on different approaches? (with my goals in mind) Moving on, I feel like character development comes a little easier for me than plot/conflict development. It is easy to imagine very basic conflicts and characters, but when I consider these imaginations more deeply I ask myself, “Why is this story worth telling? Why is this conflict important? Why is this character interesting?” and in doing so I find that I can’t answer those questions, or if I can answer them I find the answer is unremarkable. 3) Does anyone have personal experience or knowledge they could share on different approaches with this problem? Are these skills that develop naturally as one writes more, or do they need to be handled more specifically? I’ll be studying creative writing within a year or so, but in the meantime I will write, read, write, and read, and then write some more. I may enter competitions someday, but it’s not a priority. I make a point of learning the definitions of words that are unfamiliar to me when I see them. I plan to write short stories, practicing all the aspects of storytelling – across many stories, not all crammed into each story – and then when an idea for a novel manifests, I will embark on that journey. I am going to write professionally, in any field, any type of writing that will put food in my belly. Meanwhile, I will be writing my personal things, honing my skills. I will collect them, refine them, and then try to get them published someday. My final question is based on the information supplied, what else can/should I be doing to become the best writer I can be? Thanks for wading through all this. I look forward to all your responses.