Today I took another step toward my goal of becoming a published author: I submitted a short story to The Saturday Evening Post to be considered for their print edition.
I never pictured myself writing short stories. My goal is to write novels. In fact I am busy working on one while I write these short stories. But I’ve been reading a lot about authors and how they got started and they all have one thing in common: they started out writing short stories.
I read an article about how to establish yourself as a writer and the advice was, you guessed it, writing short stories. Another article said to write three or four of them a month and just start sending them out, so I’ve been doing just that. I have a long list of bookmarks for online literary journals, e-zines, and shorty story contests that I am submitting to.
My goal is to win four writing competitions and have 15 short stories published by the end of the year. Sounds like a lot, but if I aim high I’m bound to reach at least a portion of this goal.
Now, I’m not just writing haphazardly. I’ve been reading articles on how to write short stories and I’ve also been reading lots of shorts by authors who are considered to be the best at this craft. People like Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Raymond Carver, J. California Cooper, and Annie Proulx. If you’ve never read short stories before, give these authors a try. I was a little nervous to read anything by Mr. King, but I’ve managed to get through his stories…so far…without any bad dreams. Although I may or may not look like this while I read his stories:
This style of writing has really been stretching my skills. Most short stories are 3,000 words or less. That may sound like a lot but it isn’t. Think of how long a novel is. That’s like a movie. Well, a short story is like a commercial. Yeah. That.
But it really forces me to be deliberate when I write and use strong verbs that elicit (I hope) a strong emotional response while also painting vivid imagery.
Hey, have you read any good short stories lately? I’d love to hear about it! I’m always looking for another good book to read.
Until I write again…..