This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I like writing short stories, mainly because they’re short. You don’t have to remember tens of thousands of words of subplots and characters. You don’t have to create massive back stories. And it is usually pretty easy to convince someone I know to either read it or be read it. (Have you ever tried to get friends/family to read or edit 80,000 word novels? No, well let’s just say getting them to read 1,000 is much, much easier!)
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Whether I’m very good at writing short stories is another matter. I’ve only just started entering short story competitions, which means I’m in that blissful state of thinking I could be a winner as none of the winners have been announced yet.
When I first started entering them I had one main criteria. They had to be free. It’s not that I’m tight, well maybe it’s a little to do with that, but it’s more how do you know whether your short story is good enough to pay to be submitted? Which means for now I’m sticking to the freebie ones.
And after almost entering a competition last week, I’ve added another criteria: be selective of the genre.
There don’t appear to be many chick lit short stories competitions (or I’m not too good at finding them), so I’ve started writing other genres types for short stories. I started to cast the net quite wide and try other genres. Only for short stories as otherwise I miss my fierce women, handsome men and mushy endings.
This works ok with literary fiction which most of the competitions I’ve found seem to be. But a few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from Company Magazine about a short story competition they were offering. I was instantly dead excited and when I got home from work that evening I investigated it. Now when I found out it was an erotic short story competition I really should have stopped then. But oh no, I was in the mindset that as I am a fabulous writer, I could write anything.
So I sat down at the keyboard tried my best to think some smutty thoughts and realised that I had never read any erotic fiction. I did a bit of googling and found some magazines that I don’t think I’ve seen in my local WH Smiths and did some reading. To cut a long story short, 3 stories, some beetroot red cheeks and little hot around the collar later, I decided that perhaps just because it was a free competition did not mean I had to enter it.
And there selective genre criteria was added.
Aside from genres and costs of writing competitions, the only other thing standing in my way of writing the short stories is myself. I have this awful habit of finding out about competitions, getting far to excited about them, daydream about the wonderful prize and super dooper opportunities that will arise from winning, that I often forget to write the stories themselves.
Out of the four competitions I have recently entered, three of the entries were written either on the night they were due in or about two days before. It is either because they're so short I don’t plan the time to write them properly, or I turn into a total teenager with last minute homework syndrome.
That is my new writing resolution, that I will dedicate more time to writing short stories earlier giving me much more editing time. I’ve told you all now so I have to do it!