I love writing short stories because I’m a huge blogging fan. Blogging is instant publishing, and short stories are similar. You can write a short story today, and sell it tomorrow.
“Yes, but readers don’t buy short stories in my genre…”
I often receive this response from authors when I suggest that they add short story writing to their self-publishing program. My response to that is always: “you will be surprised.”
Writing and publishing short stories is an efficient way to get more from your self-publishing efforts.
In this article, I suggested some of the ways in which you can use short fiction ebooks:
• They’re an easy way to make the switch to writing fiction;
• Short stories will boost your book sales on Amazon and elsewhere;
• You can build an email list, by offering a short story or two;
• Short fiction increases your visibility so you can build your author platform;
• It’s an easy way to develop a profitable career ghostwriting fiction for clients…
Write short stories fast: focus on scenes
The easiest way to write short stories (and novels, for that matter) is to focus on scenes.
My scenes average at around 1500 words. So for a short story, I aim at three scenes. I may write longer, but three scenes gives me a basic outline for a short story.
For more on writing in scenes, read Write Hot Scenes For Bestselling Fiction: 5 Magical Tips.
The first scene of a short story is the setup: introduce the story question
Your first scene is the setup for your short story: you introduce your characters, the situation, and the story question.
Your story question is the POINT of your novel. We discussed the story question in New Novelist: Write A Selling Novel With One Simple Strategy:
The point of a novel is often referred to as the “story question”, or “dramatic question.” Although the story question might not be stated overtly, it must exist for your novel to be satisfying to readers. In many genres, the genre itself offers insight to the story question:
- In mysteries — will the sleuth find the killer?
- In romances — will the boy get the girl?
- In thrillers — will the hero save the world?
Your short story’s second scene: a big obstacle or three
You’ve set up your short story. Now it’s time to add an obstacle.
In your mystery, for example, your sleuth is questioning suspects when the killer strikes again…
The climax — all is lost, BUT… your hero comes through in scene three
Your third scene is the climax. In a mystery, your sleuth has made a huge mistake. The killer has turned the tables on the sleuth, who’s facing death.
Here’s a tip for writing short stories: your climax is everything. Set up the climax from the first line of your story.
After the climax, wind up your short story in a few sentences…
And you’re done.
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