Many beginning writers think the novel is Mount Everest. The place we start for proving our writing chops. But the problem with novels is they’re long.
Thank you, Captain Obvious. You can labor on this monster for months or years, never sure if it’s any good.
Ray Bradbury said (paraphrasing from a lecture):
“(Bradbury) explains the problem with setting a goal of writing a novel to begin with is that you can spend a whole year trying to write one, and it might not turn out well. After all, if you’re just starting out you haven’t learned to write yet. Beginning and intermediate writers should write short stories; that way, you can write one short story a week.”
If you’re diving into fiction writing and not sure where to start… short stories are a sure bet.
The short story is the perfect place to get in your 10,000 hours and build your fiction chops. It’s where I began, and where most writers start, and where many authors still live.
A short story isn’t the minor leagues for writing. Maybe someday if you can hit the curve, you’ll move to the majors and write a novel. No way.
Some of the greatest writing ever done was less than 20,000 words. Old Man and the Sea, anyone?