For all of you future collegiate minds who will choose creative writing as a major, know that for a majority of your education, you will learn to write short stories. 99% of the classes are short fiction based, which is great!
I've always written short fiction. I mean, that's what I started with when I was a kid. That's what most of us start with, if we're honest. I wrote them through high school and have continued them in college, though I must say, I'm not as prolific as I used to be. It's different when you have a class grading you on turning in at least a portion of a story every week. But having to get myself inspired to write something other than Ascension is somewhat difficult.
So why am I rambling about this? Well, A) I'm working on beefing up my writing samples for my master's programs applications. B) I actually wrote a story that I'm pretty proud of recently.
So what are the differences between writing short fiction and a novel?
First off, short fiction is...you guessed it...shorter! Which can be good and bad. Bad in that maybe you can't say all that you want to say. Good in that you don't have to answer all the questions that you would in a novel.
Short stories should also be faster paced. Some may contend this. For instance, some of the earlier short fictions published have a very leisurely pace and often ramble on about things that don't necessarily contribute to the forward movement of the story. However, some would argue (me, I would argue) that those are tales. This is not to say that novels aren't fast paced. Ascension is very fast paced. But it doesn't have to be. One of my favorite, most inspiring novels is The Night Circus which has a much slower pace but also allows you to delve further into the very intricate world.
Short stories can have a lot of detail, but they also don't have to. Sometimes leaving the readers with questions is a good thing. It means they are involved in the world. They want to know more. Just don't leave too much up to the imagination. Whereas with a novel, I've learned exactly how many things I have to think about that probably will never actually make it onto the page. For instance, I have short stories that are just memories of Cheyenne's and Lilith's and Eli's. Just to get inside their heads more. It's also fun to write.
Then there's this idea that writing a novel takes a significant more amount of dedication than it does to write a short story. That's true. It does take more dedication and time. However, that being said, that doesn't mean that writing a short story does not take dedication. It does. I honestly wish I had more determination to make my short stories better and revise them more than I do. Sometimes, I just settle. But I think some of the best stories are written several times over.
So whatever you choose to write and/or read, be proud of it and do all that you can to hone your craft!
Gonna Go Write Now,