Here’s a great strategy for emerging as a writer. By emerge I mean get noticed by agents, by editors, even by the curators of writing blogs. Writing short stories can elevate your career. They will even help you connect with your peers in your writing life.

Short stories don’t result in much pay, at first. However, they can be your calling card as a writer. They are quicker to read than a novel and show off more of your skills in just the amount of time it takes to read 10 pages. That can be as many as 3,000 words of writing. A powerful story does not have to be longer than that.

In essence, the short story is an audition for a bigger role, as a book author. Your pieces of unfinished novels might even supply the ore that you can smelt into the good metal of a story.

There are three fundamentals to create short story. An immediate hook that reveals what a main character desires. A sense of place for the action, shaped by description and aided by characterization. The most important of these, though, is action that occurs in scene. Short stories need something to happen.

You can write other kinds of short stories, full of lyric prose and feats of language magic. You should, perhaps, as your dessert for when you’ve finished something. But only a short story will show off the most foundational skill of writing. Telling a story, with structure, in a space of just 20 minutes of time to read.

Today’s readers are busy. Shorts stories can make something happen in scenes that comes alive.

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