Advice?

This topic contains 16 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 3 months, 1 week ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #347032

    Anonymous

    I’m still a pretty new writer and I’ve been having trouble deciding on what my first story will be, but recently I came across one of my old story ideas and it comes across as a Short Story idea to me. I’ve heard writers should write Short Stories before novels so thinking about going with it as my first. Thing is, this will be an anti-animal abuse story and my plan with this story was to share it and send all the money it earns to an animal shelter in need. How should I go about this? Maybe it shouldn’t be my first story as I’ve heard first stories don’t make much money? Any advice on if this is a good idea or not would be very much appreciated.

  • #656127

    Anonymous

    kris0707 wrote:
    > I’m still a pretty new writer and I’ve been having trouble deciding on what
    > my first story will be, but recently I came across one of my old story
    > ideas and it comes across as a Short Story idea to me. I’ve heard writers
    > should write Short Stories before novels so thinking about going with it as
    > my first. Thing is, this will be an anti-animal abuse story and my plan
    > with this story was to share it and send all the money it earns to an
    > animal shelter in need. How should I go about this? Maybe it shouldn’t be
    > my first story as I’ve heard first stories don’t make much money? Any
    > advice on if this is a good idea or not would be very much appreciated.

    First off, the only reason I can think of to write short stories before novels is to get in the habit of finishing the story. Short stories are different animals from novels, so they aren’t really “practice” for novel writing (and we’ve all read novels by writers who think they’re just longer short stories – not good.).

    Second, the odds of earning any money from a first story are practically nil. One has to write a lot of stories before they come close to mastering the craft, and then there’s no guarantee of sales.

    Last, be very careful of writing “cause” stories. They tend to be preachy and very few readers like being preached to. Now, once you’ve been writing for a while and learned how to weave the story so it isn’t preachy, then I’d give it a shot.

  • #656128

    margery65w
    Participant

    kris0707 wrote:
    > I’m still a pretty new writer and I’ve been having trouble deciding on what
    > my first story will be, but recently I came across one of my old story
    > ideas and it comes across as a Short Story idea to me. I’ve heard writers
    > should write Short Stories before novels so thinking about going with it as
    > my first. Thing is, this will be an anti-animal abuse story and my plan
    > with this story was to share it and send all the money it earns to an
    > animal shelter in need. How should I go about this? Maybe it shouldn’t be
    > my first story as I’ve heard first stories don’t make much money? Any
    > advice on if this is a good idea or not would be very much appreciated.

    I think starting with short stories is good.
    Sort of like learning scales before you play an entire piece on the piano.

    While novels are different, much of the writing practice will be useful as a base to learn the rest that is needed to succeed as a novelist.

    You get more useful practice writing with several short stories. Especially when you finish them.

    And like Ostarella noted, you are more likely to get in the habit of finishing.

    Do not expect to make a lot of money with them. IMHO short stories are like art.
    The name attached has more value than the picture itself.

  • #656129

    jIPPity
    Participant

    I wrote several short stories before I attempted my first novel. But short stories and novels are completely different animals. Some writers, like King, can do both well, but most specialize in one or the other. Basically, if you want to write short stories, then do it, but if you want to write novels, then start with that. The notion that the skills you learn writing short stories will prepare you for writing novels is a reflection of the old “transference of learning” theory, which has been pretty well discredited. For example, one used to hear that if you want to learn French, you first study Latin. Uh, no, you study French. Or, to use a musical analogy, it used to be said that if you want to play Beethoven piano sonatas, you begin by mastering Czerny Etudes. Nothing could be further from the truth. Obviously a pianist needs proficiency in scales, arpeggios, etc., but once those basic techniques are in hand, s/he should practice Beethoven, not Czerny. Similary, a writer needs to know spelling, punctuation, and grammar, but once those matter are in hand, s/he should start writing novels if that’s what s/he wants to do. Not short stories.

    –Warren

  • #656130

    margery65w
    Participant

    wdarcy wrote:
    if you want to learn French, you first study Latin. Uh, no, you study French.

    That is what I said isn’t it? Whether you write short stories or novels you have to write.
    They both need plot and characters in a setting.

    Novels are bigger and more complicated than short stories but they are very similar IMHO.

    Please tell us what you think is significantly different in writing them.

    Clearly latin is a waste. I needed to know English to bumble through latin.
    I did not say to learn something else first. I said to practice with the small version before trying the big complex one.

    Scales are basic to all forms of music. Writing as well as plot/characters/setting are basic to short stories and novels.

  • #656131

    Anonymous

    noobienieuw wrote:

    > Novels are bigger and more complicated than short stories but they are very
    > similar IMHO.
    >

    That kinda answers your own question – especially the “more complicated” part. About the only thing they have in common is that you have to know basic grammar and spelling. A short story requires the ability to tell the story in a concise and “efficient” way – and you don’t have room for a lot of sub-plots, large cast of characters, world-building, etc. It takes a lot of work to have an effective short story because you can’t include all the elements of a novel.

    While I definitely don’t agree with everything here (like the idea that novelists can be “lazy”), this article does a pretty good job of explaining the difference between writing a successful short story and writing a novel.

    https://www.universalclass.com/articles/writing/short-story-versus-a-novel.htm

  • #656132

    Anonymous

    Ostarella- Ah, thanks for letting me know. I’ll keep that in mind that they are a lot different. Yeah, that was my worry since this’ll be my first story, I imagine it wouldn’t make much if any money so I guess I’ll put it off for a while since I would like to use this story to help with animals at some point. That’s a good point about being “preachy”. I don’t want to come across as such. Thanks much for the advice!

    noobienieuw- I am thinking about trying to write both, but I think I’ll be more of a novel writer. Although I gotta say, to do that, I have to learn to write more lol. I keep coming up with Novella sizes, but getting better. That makes sense that Short Stories don’t make too much money.. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks!

    wdarcy- I would like to try to write both at some point, but I think I’ll be more of a novel writer. I’ll keep in mind that Short Stories and Novels are a lot different though. That was a good analogy. Thanks!

  • #656133

    margery65w
    Participant

    ostarella wrote:
    > noobienieuw wrote:
    >
    > > Novels are bigger and more complicated than short stories but they are very
    > > similar IMHO.
    > >
    >
    > That kinda answers your own question – especially the “more complicated”
    > part. About the only thing they have in common is that you have to know basic grammar
    > and spelling.
    >
    > difference between writing a successful short story and writing a novel.>
    > https://www.universalclass.com/articles/writing/short-story-versus-a-novel.htm

    Thanks for the link.

    I see both having characters, setting, plot, and other things in common, not just spelling and grammar.
    The big difference being the size. Other that what size accounts for what other differences are there?
    As you note, novels have room for subplots which are another complication to master after learning the basics of story telling.

  • #656134

    Anonymous

    I would just sit and write rather than ponder the merit of the story’s length. If it happens that the story is a short story then so be it. If you can lengthen it out and you are having fun doing it rather than trying to push a boulder up a mountain then maybe you have a novel. And, should the whole thing go for naught then you learned that lesson as well. If you are thinking this much about it, try the outline method – sketch out the ideas, that might help organize your thoughts. And like how some folks write out their thoughts and feelings to get clarity, so that might be what you need. Sit, write, produce. It’s the only way to truly know. I’ve written both. I also took a short story idea and made a novel from it. Turns out there was nothing in the novel where I could use the short story – just the way the novel evolved.

  • #656135

    Anonymous

    noobienieuw wrote:

    >
    > I see both having characters, setting, plot, and other things in common, not just
    > spelling and grammar.

    Well, yes, characters, setting and plot are common – all stories must have them. But that’s kinda like saying a hay wagon and a super train have wheels in common.

    > The big difference being the size. Other that what size accounts for what other
    > differences are there?
    > As you note, novels have room for subplots which are another complication to master
    > after learning the basics of story telling.

    I would suggest you read the article linked to – it explains very nicely the differences other than size.

  • #656136

    Anonymous

    Brien Sz wrote:
    > I would just sit and write rather than ponder the merit of the story’s
    > length. If it happens that the story is a short story then so be it. If
    > you can lengthen it out and you are having fun doing it rather than trying
    > to push a boulder up a mountain then maybe you have a novel. And, should
    > the whole thing go for naught then you learned that lesson as well. If you
    > are thinking this much about it, try the outline method – sketch out the
    > ideas, that might help organize your thoughts. And like how some folks
    > write out their thoughts and feelings to get clarity, so that might be what
    > you need. Sit, write, produce. It’s the only way to truly know. I’ve
    > written both. I also took a short story idea and made a novel from it.
    > Turns out there was nothing in the novel where I could use the short story
    > – just the way the novel evolved.

    In general, I agree. The story ends up being the length and complexity it needs to be. Then again, there’s a certain discipline in deciding “I am going to write a short story” and then doing it – which can come in handy if one wants to submit to journals, contests, magazines, etc. which have stricter length guidelines than general publishers.

  • #656137

    margery65w
    Participant

    >
    > I would suggest you read the article linked to – it explains very nicely the
    > differences other than size.

    Thanks. I did read the article. The only significant difference I saw was size in spite of his claims.

    To rephrase that, there are differences but the reason they exist is because of the size. So yes you should
    have chapter endings like cliff hangers to lead onto the next chapter. But size causes that additional consideration.
    Ditto for more settings. Larger novel can use more settings than smaller short store. But both have setting.
    And the same goes for plot twists. A novel is bigger so has room, and need, for more twists. Also subplots that a SS wont have.

    Like scales and etudes, a jump to symphonies is a huge. The rest is complexity not the basics.

  • #656138

    Anonymous

    Brien Sz- Thanks much for the advice! I have tried outlining with other stories before and I think you could be right it’d be useful to try that in this situation. Since it seems Short Stories don’t make much money, it probably would be a good thing if I could turn this into a novel instead. Considering I want to donate the money. Will definitely do some outlining then. Thanks again! =)

  • #656139

    Anonymous

    noobienieuw wrote:

    > Thanks. I did read the article. The only significant difference I saw was size in
    > spite of his claims.

    Okay. It’s kinda like saying the only difference between a pebble and a boulder is the size so you should be able to move them both using the same tools, but if it works for you…

  • #656140

    margery65w
    Participant

    ostarella wrote:

    > Okay. It’s kinda like saying the only difference between a pebble and a boulder is
    > the size so you should be able to move them both using the same tools, but if it
    > works for you…

    Not exactly. Clearly you need different tools in that case.
    But you may well use the same engineering principles to choose the tool.

    I like the music analogy better. You will have trouble composing well if you don’t know the scales.
    You may well do a symphony easier if you had practice composing smaller works first.

    Clearly most tasks do not scale and bigger ones need a lot more than smaller ones do even if they are related.
    But , to me, the problem is the size , not other factors — for the most part.

  • #656141

    khwybebm50
    Participant

    kris0707 wrote:
    > I’m still a pretty new writer and I’ve been having trouble deciding on what
    > my first story will be, but recently I came across one of my old story
    > ideas and it comes across as a Short Story idea to me. I’ve heard writers
    > should write Short Stories before novels so thinking about going with it as
    > my first. Thing is, this will be an anti-animal abuse story and my plan
    > with this story was to share it and send all the money it earns to an
    > animal shelter in need. How should I go about this? Maybe it shouldn’t be
    > my first story as I’ve heard first stories don’t make much money? Any
    > advice on if this is a good idea or not would be very much appreciated.

    Imho…there are so many “shoulds” in any endeavor, regardless of what it is. Writing is no different. Don’t let any case of the “shoulds” grow up enough to prevent you from just digging in to writing what’s on your heart & see where it takes you in your piece. Maybe, as you go along, the storyline and characters won’t allow you to let it remain a short story instead of a novel, then again maybe it will! 😀
    -Diana

  • #656142

    Anonymous

    Shorty3.0- That’s good advice, thanks! Lol, true, I’m sorta hoping I can make the story longer now, but I won’t know until I start writing.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.