Getting Started Writing Short Stories | Janell Robisch | Skillshare

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Getting Started Writing Short Stories

teacher avatar Janell Robisch, Author. Editor. Designer.

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What Is a Short Story?


    • 3.

      Reasons to Write a Short Story


    • 4.

      Jumping Off Points


    • 5.

      Where to Find Story Ideas


    • 6.

      Reasons to Outline


    • 7.

      Story Structure


    • 8.

      Essential Story Elements


    • 9.

      Scene Structure


    • 10.

      Tips for Drafting


    • 11.

      Tips for Revising


    • 12.

      Publishing Options


    • 13.

      Wrapping Up and Resources


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About This Class

In this class for beginning and experienced writers, I cover the basics of how you can get started as a short story writer and give you an overview of the entire process from how to find ideas to what to do with your story once it is finished.

You’ll learn:

  • What a short story is and how to distinguish it from other works of fiction
  • Why you should write a short story
  • Where to get started and where to find ideas
  • How to outline your story using well-tested story structures and proven techniques
  • Tips for pounding out your first draft
  • Tips for polishing your story once it’s written
  • And finally, what to do with your story once it is finished

Meet Your Teacher

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Janell Robisch

Author. Editor. Designer.


Hello, I'm Janell, a professional editor, author, and graphic designer. By day, I help publishers and indie authors in many areas polish and publish their articles and books. By dawn and evening, I write my own stories and design a variety of products both for fun and profit.

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm John L. I'm, a published author and editor and a book and graphic designer. I'm really excited to be bringing you this class on getting started writing short stories, the classes for both beginning writers and more experienced writers. I'll tell you how to get started, how to draft your story and finally, what to do with it. Once it's finished in this class, you'll learn what a short story is and how to distinguish it from longer works of fiction. In more than just word count, we'll talk about why you might want to write a short story and how it can help you as a writer. Next we'll discuss where to get started and how to find those ever elusive ideas. We'll talk about how to outline your story and white outline. Your story will use some proven techniques and story structures to do that. And if you still don't like outlining, I'll even show you how to use that learning process to help you, even if you don't actually make one next, I'll give you some tips for pounding out your first draft and also some tips and tricks for revising that draft. And finally we'll talk about the many different ways you can publish that story. Now, in the first class, we're going to be talking about what a short story is and the ways in which you can differentiate it from a longer work of fiction. I look forward to it and I'll see you then. 2. What Is a Short Story?: Welcome back. Before we start talking about how to write short stories, let's make sure that we know exactly what we're talking about when we talk about, um, the CliffsNotes website defines a short story. Is a fictional work of prose that a shorter in length and a novel? Well, that's pretty obvious, right? But they continue to say that Edgar Allan Poe, in his essay The Philosophy of Composition, said that a short story should be read in one sitting anywhere from 1/2 hour to two hours. That's more helpful because it tells you that a short story something you might read on your lunch break, or maybe right before you go to bed at night something that won't keep you up until three in the morning. In contemporary fiction, they say that a short story can range from 1000 to 20,000 words. So does that mean that this one K to 20 k words is the range you should aim for when you write a short story? Well, maybe not actually different people to find different works of fiction in different ways and by different numbers. But here are some general guidelines you can follow first, we'll start with flash fiction, which are almost a mini short story, and they can go from anywhere from zero words to 1500 words. While I'll say one word to 1500 words. Next are short stories which we're talking about. They can go from 1500 to 30,000 words. Next, We have novellas there, right in the middle between short stories and novels, and run from 30,000 to 50,000 words. And finally, a novel, which is anything this 50 k and up. So you can have a really kind of short novel all the way up to Warren Peace or something that's like 400,000 words. The important thing is to remember to check your publishers guidelines. If you're submitting to like a magazine or an anthology, just to make sure that they don't have any specific limits and if they do that, you follow them. So what else besides this length distinguishes a short story from these longer works of fiction? Well, I will give you a hint. Most of these that I'm gonna talk about do results for the smaller writing space that you have to work with, but they may not be so obvious at first glance, and so there were thinking about first. They generally take less time to write, and that's pretty obvious. You know fewer words. You're probably sitting the keyboard for less time. Next, everything is generally more condensed and simpler as the Myth Koreans website, which is a website for fantasy and science fiction author says the short of the story, the less complexity it can handle. So a 1500 words short story is going to be really, really simple. Whereas that 30,000 word story might have more room for development Because of this time and space constraints, short stories are more unforgiving. You can't really afford to be too subtle on your major plot points or to lollygag around while you're getting to the heart of the story. There is usually less of everything in a short story. There's usually only one main character, and there are fewer characters in general. There are fewer subplots, settings and time periods, and often you only have one setting one time period. In no subplot, you might even only have one character to get to the heart of the matter. I'd like to read a quote from my favorite fantasy author, Stephen R. Donaldson. He was probably most known for his Thomas Covenant, Siri's, but I read this quote I'm about to read to you about 20 years ago, and it's stuck with me ever since. But this comes from his introduction to a short story anthology, Daughter of Regal's and Other Tales. In many circles, the short story is regarded as a higher art form than the novel. A novel is to a short story, as beer is to champagne. In a novel, the writer simply stands back and through throws, words and his subject until some of them stick an ordeal from which the subject generally emerges. Spattered but unbowed. But in a short story, the words being so few must be carefully placed on the subject in the pockets, so to speak, perhaps behind the ears, in order to have any impact at all. That's the short story appears to demand more of both reader and writer. The reader must become adept of perceiving the writers, meaning as a peeps past the lapels of the subject, or the writer must become expert tucking. His intent here and there said that it still shows. Join me for the next chapter where we'll discuss why you, as a beginning or advanced writer, might want to give writing short stories. A try. See you then. 3. Reasons to Write a Short Story: way. Welcome back in this segment. We're going to talk about why writing a short story might be a good idea for you as a writer, whether you're beginning writer, a nonfiction writer or a novel writer. Obviously, because of the lower word count, a short story should take less time to write than a novel. You might even sit down and write one or two short stories in a single afternoon. Here are some other reasons. First, you might want to use writing a short story to try out an idea for a novel. I did this with the first book in my fantasy, Siri's. I wasn't really sure the idea was gonna work, and so I wrote a standalone short story first, and I did like it. So it later became the prologue to the first novel. In my fantasy, Siri's If you're a blogger or a nonfiction writer or any other kind of writer, you might want to use short stories as an easy way to try your hand at fiction writing with less time investment. Of course, if you've never written fiction before, the short form might be the perfect way to start. You can try out multiple ideas or genres in the same timeframe. It would take you to write a novel next you want might want to use short stories to practice your craft. As I mentioned earlier, writing short stories is seen by some to be a heart higher art form. Now. I'm not gonna argue about which form of writing is the best, because it works differently for everybody. But any writing, you can dio any practice. You can get it. Writing fiction will help you improve your craft. You might be interested in entering a writing contest. Writers, groups, magazines and websites. They hold these kind of contests all the time. Just be aware that some of them do charge fees. I wouldn't pay a fee to submit your story to a contest unless you're sure that it's a well known and reputable organization, because other people might just be trying to take your money. So even then I'd be tempted to stick to other ways to get my story out there. You know, different ways to publish that are going to cost me a lot of money. Next, you might want to submit your story to an anthology or a magazine similar to contest their costs for submissions. For short story anthologies and magazines all over the place, you just have to google it. According to the rite practice dot com, there are more than double the available markets for short stories than there are novel publishers. So it's definitely something to think about. You might want to write A short story is a break between novels. If you're already a novelist, writing one or several short stories between your novels might turn out to be a nice break . And it could even be a low commitment way to try out a new genre that has your interest be . Also, if you're a novelist, you can use thes short stories to add depth to your existing Siri's. If you have an established world, short stories can be a great way to keep your readers engaged between novels and to provide character perspectives that you don't in your in the novel. Since you've already written or in the main books of the Siri's, especially say you have a really interesting side character. They're a great subject of a short story, However, do be careful if you do this, not to give it weight major plot lines in your stories because you don't want to end up giving away spoilers. One way to do this is to make sure you provide a list of a reading order for your readers so that they don't accidentally, you know, find out something that happened that you didn't want them to, at least not yet. Next. Short stories are a great way to get you publishing credit and to build your backlist. Whether you're publishing traditionally or self publishing and what I mean by traditionally is like publishing with a major publishing house or even a small publisher. The more stories you have written, whether the short stories or books, it will help you build your audience. And it may even gardener you some dedicated fans, which can really help. Finally, not many people talk about this, but your stories are one way to gain a passive income source because you write a story once and you can get paid for it over and over again. That's called passive income short stories themselves. If you put them say on Amazon or in an anthology, they will sell over and over again, and you get royalties every time. But you can also put short stories out in different formats and sell them to different markets. And that proves even more promising for passing Inca still intrigue. Stick around for the next episode, where we'll talk about how to get your story started. 4. Jumping Off Points: There are many ways to start a short story or any story for that matter, the jumping off points that I'm about to talk about these air, just a few ways to get started. But they're good not just for short stories, but for fiction of any length. Jumping off points are things that inspire you. They get you thinking about more and more ideas as you go. One of the things that inspires a lot of writers are cool characters. Start with someone who really intrigues you. Let's think of just a few a Greek god, a superhero, a key historical figure, maybe a Gothic punk rocker or that weird guy who walks up and down your street muttering to himself. Remember, if you're excited about a character, it will likely come through in your writing and will help your readers get excited about them, too. A big idea could be a great place to start. For example, what if you could modify a car and turn it into a time machine? Yeah, I think that one might have already be done, but remember, there are no original ideas. What makes a story original is how you with your own unique style and your particular life experience. It's how you write it because no one can write it from your point of view except you. Next, you might want to start with an unusual or epic setting. Some example. Writers like to use our other planets or great cities, whether the real or imagined, a deep jungle or that spooky abandoned cottage that all the neighborhoods kids think it's haunted. You can even start with an intriguing situation. How many stories have you seen with two enemies forced to work together or someone left alone to escape a seemingly UN s capable situation? Think escape rooms or even tales like the Hunger Games. You can start with bits of interesting dialogue. Even there's local gossip that you could turn and fictionalize that hushed conversation behind you in the coffee shop that sounded suspiciously like two women planning to murder someone. How they could have just been writers. Finally, you can try starting with an awesome story title. Now this could be one. You come up with yourself or maybe someone else's. Yes, of course, you'd have to change the title if you use this. Think about how awesome story titles can spark new ideas in you, even if you don't come anywhere near where the original writer did. For example, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber. How many different kinds of secret lives could somebody have that really just leaves the doors wide open? Or the Lone Ranger and Tonto fistfight in Heaven? That one really gets me thinking and finally is Easy's sleepaway camp for disordered dreamers. That story's by Karen Russell and I've never read it, but I'm already interested. Wherever you start, you need to ground your reader through the eyes of the central character and tell a complete and engaging story, and we'll talk about those essential elements later. But this limited type of you type story it's not the only way to write, but with a short story, and you're limited space. It's a particularly effective take a few minutes now to start your class project by completing Step one right down your jumping off point. For a short story, use one of the ones I've discussed or pick your own in. The next segment will dig a little deeper into the topic of how to get ideas, since it's one of the biggest challenges writers, especially new ones face See you then 5. Where to Find Story Ideas: There are lots of places to find great story ideas. Let's talk about just a few of them. Start out by observing instead of going through life with your head down, just trying to get your next destination. Learn to slow down and observe what's around you look and listen. Take in the world. Of course. Watch the road and don't be a creepy stalker. But even the smallest things could spark good ideas. If you're open and waiting, be sure you don't lose track of those ideas, though. Keep a notebook or an app handy to store your ideas. You can even have a nap that records your voice so it only takes a second. You can also use your phone to take pictures of cool things that inspire you so you don't forget them again. Avoid the creepy stalker nous and ask permission before taking photos of people, especially close up. But get your ideas down as they come to you, preferably in one easy to access place, and then review them and you can use the best ones to develop into stories. Another great and timeless way to get ideas is to ask yourself what if questions For example, I got these ideas one day while sitting at the Arboretum while my kids were hanging out with their friends. I asked myself, What if the plants at the local plant sale started giving off deadly toxins? And what if it was deliberate? We're on a completely different note. If you're going on the romance, I'll I asked myself, What if divorced mother Anna accompanied her daughters class to the field trip at the Arboretum and ran into her old flame? See how? What if skin just take you down multiple roads? Next, try out writing prompts. There are tons of them in word form and photo for maybe even video for him. They're available online. You just have to search their even books with titles like 5000 Writing Problems and Who Done It? 18 2365. Writing prompts for mystery writers With a little searching, you'll be of the fines and prompt books and websites for your preferred genre as well. You can use a favorite movie book, song or story for inspiration. Of course, Don't plagiarize, but I don't know how many times I thought how cool it would be to write a short story inspired by the song Hotel California. I mean, it's just got so many elements, and it always gets my imagination racing with any of these ways of generating ideas make them unique by making them your own. So once you have a great list of ideas, flesh them out by asking yourself leading questions. If you come up with multiple answers, you're bound to come up with suitable ones, the ones with legs that will help you turn that idea into a story. This is also a great process for the outlining stage, which we'll talk about next. Right often exercise your creative muscles. The more you right, you'll find that inspiration comes more easily. As Louis Lamar said, start writing. No matter what, the water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. So now is a great time to go to your class project and add to it by cooking, edit and writing down some of your own personal sources for ideas in writing inspiration, see in the next video 6. Reasons to Outline: OK, now it's time to plan your story or outline it. Of course, outlining is an option. It's not a requirement for writing a short story. If you dip into any kind of creative writing, whether it's novels or short stories or memoirs, you'll likely hear about plotters or people who outline religiously and chancers, who are people who never plan and just fly by the seat of their pants when writing. In reality, there are very few people who are 100% plotter or 100% pants. Er, most writers fall somewhere in the middle. Each of us has to find are most comfortable spot, and that can vary even for the same writer between projects. I'm gonna give you some of the benefits of outlining, and then you can decide for yourself first. When you have a detailed plan, it can reduce your writing time, your time staring at the page or the screen as you try to come up with what to write next. It could definitely make the writing process faster and easier because you've used this outlining time to flush out what works and what doesn't, and you've put everything into its proper boxes than outlining can result in fewer plot holes and inconsistencies for you to fix during revisions. Outlining can also allow you time to explore more spontaneous options for your story. Now this might sound counterintuitive, but when you've already got a solid plan for your entire story, you could more quickly way new ideas that come to you during the writing process and figure out whether they'll fit in the overall scheme of your tail. If you're pantsing this exploratory writing well, definitely fun and a learning process in itself. It can lead to a lot of dead ends and Oregon inconsistencies that you'll have to clean up later. Outlining gives you a safety net against writer's block. It gives you a path to follow instead of just a blank page. You're giving yourself a leg up by having that set of instructions by your side as you begin, said the blank pages. No longer as intimidating as it once Waas. If you really, really don't like outlining before you write, consider reverse outlining. This means writing your outline from your story and checking it to see if you've met all the goals. You can also check your story against your favorite story structure during editing to see if all of your essential elements are there or if you have any plot holes, inconsistencies and so on. Fortunately, if you do decide to outline, there are many types of story structures or narrative plans, if you will, to choose from so you can pick the one that works for you and how detailed you want to make that plan. I'll give you an overview of some of those in the next video. I'll see you then. 7. Story Structure: I think this segment we're going to briefly go over some common and not so common story structures you might try is a basis for outlining your short story. This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are others out there, like the story grid and the snowflake method that are perfectly valid. A just don't have time to cover them all. The four guides We will be discussing our traditional narrative structure. The Hero's Journey Al just buttresses seven point story structure and the short story brainstorm er. Now we're going to dig into these in more detail. Keep in mind that for each of these structures or story guides, there is tons of information and analysis out there if you'd like to explore them in more detail, Traditional narrative structure is the kind of story structure you probably heard about in high school English class, for example, it's the mountain like form that includes exposition, rising action, complication, the climax, falling action and a new mint. It's closely related to the three act structure and Fry tags pyramid. It's covered in greater detail in KM Weiland's outlining your novel and her book structuring your novel in this structure. The story is seen as action not necessarily, you know, action in the sense of guns and explosions, but rather changes in what is happening to our main character there ever in creasing stakes until everything comes to a head in the climax, for good or bad, and the results of this climax are explained or alluded to in the Falling Action and the Dinu Mint. This may be expanded to include the three acts, the inside the incidents, the pinch point, the dark night of Soul Reversal and so on. The hero's journey is a structure based on the work of Joseph Campbell, who believed that many of the world's stories from ancient times to present day, were based on a single mono myth. The 12 steps of the hero's journey that you see here can be summarized by what Joseph Campbell himself wrote in The Hero. With 1000 Faces, he says, a hero journeys forth from the world of common day, his ordinary world into a region of supernatural wonder. The adventure fabulous forces, the tests, allies and enemies are there encountered, and a decisive victory is won the reward. The hero comes back the road back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man returned with the elixir. Earlier, I mentioned that I once wrote a short story as a way to test out my idea for the first book . In my fantasy, Siri's Honestly, When I got started, I felt really lost. So this next method, Al just buttresses seven point story structure. It really saved my life. It is a clear cut quick. It's easy and helps you get started fast. So what you do with the seven point story structure is filling each of these elements with the details of your own story and you'll be ready to go. A character in a situation with a problem tries repeatedly to solve his problem but repeatedly fails. This is key, usually making the problem worse. These are the try. Fail cycles will discuss later. Then, at the climax of the story, this character makes a final attempt which might either succeed or fail depending on the story type, after which the result is validated in a way that makes it clear that what we saw was in fact, the final result for steps two through seven. I do highly recommend that you try out at least several options for each part. As you go, you'll learn that the first ideas you come up with are usually the most common one. Some stereotypes, the tropes. But as you work through it, your fourth or fifth idea, you might find that it's more original, more fun, more intense. It'll just make a better story. Next, we're going to discuss the short story brainstorm. Er, The disclaimer here is that this is a book, a work book that I wrote myself and put together from my experience as an editor and author from my many hours of reading books and listening to podcasts about writing and story structure. Yes, this is what I do in my spare time. It is less of an outlining method and more of a guide away to collect those essential story elements that you need to put together a great story. It borrows from some of the methods we've already discussed and others. The short story brainstorming includes places for you to take notes on all of the following elements of story. First, your story starter or you're jumping off point like we discussed earlier your main character. There's plenty of room here for you to start building your foundation to describe who that character is and what's important to them. You'll likely only use part of this in your actual story, but having this bedrock will help you effectively navigate the twist and turns of your story and figure out what's a realistic decision that your character would make. Next is the main character starting situation or their ordinary world, the spark that changes the main character situation. Also known as the inciting incident. Your main characters goal. The goal is the thing that makes your character go through all of the crap that they're about to go through in the story. Now, if your character's not going through a lot of crap, you will find that your story may not be that interesting to readers. Next are try fail cycles. We've talked a couple of times, are ready about your character failing as they try to reach their goal, and this is really important in the story. For example, if you have a character, a seven year old girl, and she said, Hey, I want some ice cream and she simply went to her family's freezer and grab something that would be pretty boring. To engage your readers, have your character attempt to reach their goal or take some kind of step toward that goal several times throughout the story and have them fail or make their problem worse. Don't forget that that character should also have high stakes if they don't reach their goal, even if those steaks are only in their mind. If that little girl that we talked about is convinced that she will die without that ice cream, make your readers feel it. This makes the ending when positive have been more satisfying. And when the bending is negative, it makes it even more poignant. Next, the climax. This is where you take notes about the final success or failure, and it's probably going to be 11 of your most exciting scenes. This is something we haven't discussed much, but it's really important in a story. The character arc with a few exceptions, characters like James Bond, who always stays the same. Most characters should change within the course of your story. It makes the story more interesting. It helps your readers connect. In the example of that little girl who wants the ice cream. Maybe she'll learn through failure or even success if she gets a stomachache that she really didn't need that ice cream after all. Or, better yet, or at least more interesting. Maybe she'll learn that persistence and maybe blackmailing her big brother pay off the short story brainstorm. Er also has room for you to take notes on other characters in your story you're setting and world building elements and even ideas on marketing and publishing your story. All right, that was a lot of information. Which story structure are you going to try? Let us know by recording it as Step three in your class project in the next video. All boil down this information into essential elements that your story absolutely must have . I'll see you then. 8. Essential Story Elements: every short story and infect every fictional genres. Story must have the following elements whether you decide to outline or not these air. Good to keep in mind. Number one. Your character must have a goal. This goal drives the character along the path of the story. This goal, maybe internal, such as I need to finally prove myself to my father. Or it may be external. I must get that relic from the evil treasure hunters and bring it back to the museum for the world to appreciate. In a longer story, you might have both do keep in mind that the characters initial goal might not end up being their final goal. It's okay for a character to change their mind if the reasons are believable and it continues to drive the story forward. And I know you all have seen this trope. It's also cool and often very satisfying for a character to learn that what they thought they wanted wasn't really what they needed after all. Second, a story must have stakes. This is danger or the threat of real or metaphorical death if they don't achieve their goal when our main character is a risk of losing something real, something important. This helps the reader bond or empathize with them. Your main character doesn't have to be sympathetic necessarily for this to happen, because every human being knows about wants and needs and how it feels when we're in danger of not getting those needs met. This makes it easy for us to connect two characters with real believable wants and needs, even when they're not our own. Next stories must have try fail cycles. The main character must try and fail to achieve their goal, or they must move toward it by taking a smaller step and failing. Alternatively, the character may succeed but somehow make things worse for themselves. The's cycles have the effect of ramping up the tension in your story until it all breaks in that final moment, that climax, where the main character finally succeeds or fails to reach their goal, depending on where you want your story to go, finally, the story must have their ending or results. Don't neglect to let your reader no even subtly how things ended for your character. What came of those attempts and what effect? That ending hat on your character you don't need to write a whole epilogue. Sometimes a sentence or two will dio just tie it up in a matter fitting to your story. If you ended the climax without any real resolution, it'll likely leave your readers unsatisfied and unsatisfied. Readers won't come back for more. Now Head over to your class project and write down the 1st 3 elements from the story you're working on. Tell us your character's goal, that character stakes if they don't achieve their goal. And finally, at least one description of a try fail cycle that you plan to include in your story see in the next segment. 9. Scene Structure: way. We've talked a lot about the overall structure of stories, but you might be wondering how to write each one of those scenes, the elements that make up your story. And that's what we're going to talk about Now think of seen Structure, a story structure in miniature. Your character wants something a goal. They try to get it and are blocked. That's conflict, and they either failed to achieve that goal or succeed. But make things worse. Disaster stories also have an element called Sequels. They complement the scenes well and helped to push the story forward. Scenes and Sequels are put together in various combinations to make a perfect of stories. Now in the sequel, and this doesn't mean the second book, it just means another type of scene. Your character reacts to their likely failure in the previous scene. This is the reaction. They realize that they now need to decide what they're going to do next. This is the dilemma, and finally they make a decision about how to move forward. This is their decision, and this decision will spring them into the next scene while they'll go through the Goal conflict disaster cycle again. for more discussion on this, I highly recommend both K M. Weiland's website, which is called Helping Writers Become Authors, and the book The Fantasy Fiction Formula by Deborah Chester. And that book is good for nearly every kind of fiction writer, not just fantasy writers. If your action is starting to feel still did or seems to go on forever, try comparing your seen structure against this to see if you're missing an essential element. If maybe you're elements air out of their natural order, see you in the next video world. Give you some tips on writing your first draft. 10. Tips for Drafting: So you have your ideas and maybe an outline. What now? Is there some secret formula to writing your first draft? Many people have found the following advice. Extremely helpful. Right fast. Edit later. Remember, you can't edit a blank page, so just get the words down and worry about perfecting them later as a disclaimer. When I'm writing a full novel, I don't use this method. I actually found that reviewing my previous sessions writing helps me fill out my story and to get back into the flow of writing. However, when I'm writing shorter works, especially once whose drafts could be completed in one session, like with short stories, I save editing for later. Next, avoid rabbit holes. This is when you're writing a long and you think of something that, oh, I should know what cities were popular in Victorian England and you go on the Internet, and pretty soon you find yourself hopelessly lost. Do your research during the outlining phase, or use place markers like insert name here in all caps for missing information so you can fill it in later. Don't risk falling down these rabbit holes of trying to research when you're writing hours will pass and your story will not have gotten any longer. Finally, try giving yourself a deadline or using an accountability partner to keep you going and to light a fire under yourself. An accountability partner is often another writer who needs the same kind of help, so it's a great give and take relationship. Next step revising Seve in the next video. 11. Tips for Revising: come back, your first draft is done. Time to revise our self edit Right before you begin, I recommend that you give yourself some space. Take a little time between writing and editing. Maybe by starting a new story. Even as creatives, we tend to see what we expect to be on the page instead of what's actually there, especially if you just type the end all of five minutes ago. The editing process is often more efficient. When you put some distance between yourself and the story before diving into revisions, then you really have to read the words, and you can see the story for how it is instead of how you thought it. WAAS How much time you take between finishing and revising is up to you. You can experiment and see what time frame seems to give you the best balance between effectiveness and efficiency. Next, when you edit your short story, edit ruthlessly, remember that quote by Stephen R. Donaldson from the previous video. This story is champagne. The shorter the story, the less room you have for exposition observation and general dreaming nous. You must be efficient. Every element every word should contribute to driving your story forward to its conclusion . This may mean implying some things and, yes, even telling instead of showing the less important bits so you can get right to the heart of your story, even still, ask yourself, Do those less important bits really need to be there at all? Next, consider getting some beta readers to help you out. Beta readers are people who will read your story often for free and give you feedback. Whoever you choose, whether they're other writers or just folks that love to read, make sure that they're not afraid to tell you if your story sucks and that they can do so with respect. This is often what friends and family aren't the best beta readers, because they just want to tell you your wonderful. But if you're confident that they can give you the kind of honest feedback you need, instead of just glowing praise, use them as long as they let you send out your story to more beta readers than you actually need. As you often find that people dropped the ball on this one, they may be less likely to do it with short stories than with novels since there's less time commitment, but still many people who promised will never read your story. If you do find a good beta Rieder, hold onto them tightly and pay them in the best chocolate. Next, consider hiring a professional editor. Yes, I'm an editor myself, So I have a bias, of course, but hear me out and decide for yourself. There are two kinds of editing that I'm talking about. Here. There's developmental editing, which focuses on story and structure. And there's copy editing, which focuses on grammar, punctuation, sentence low and things like that most editors charge per word. So short stories come a lot cheaper than novels and can be a less expensive way for you to learn from a professional. This is especially useful for developmental editing because it's more expensive. It can run thousands of dollars per novel with a short story. If you get developmental editing, you can learn many riding lessons from your editor at a fraction of the cost, because developmental editing is like a masterclass for writing where your story is the decks book established. Experienced authors often don't need story editing once they have a handle on these lessons than an editor can teach with respect to copy editing, though a good editor to convey useful even when you're submitting to a magazine or a traditional publisher, because it will help give your story every advantage possible to stand out among the slush pile. I will give you a warning, though. In this day of the Internet, where anybody confined anybody else. There are quote unquote editors that will take your money and give you nothing, or they will change your voice and rewrite the story in their own voice. Just is, there are authors who will take all the hard work and editor does and refuse to pay them. So do your homework. Make sure you're paying a professional by checking their website, their background and their references, which are also known as testimonials. Do this before you hand over your money before you decide to hire someone or sign a contract. A contract is another sign of a professional, by the way, many editors offer free samples of a few pages. This can really help. It may just be a few paragraphs for a short story, but it will help both the writer and editor find out whether They're a good fit for each other before going full out on a job. Next, we're going to talk about all the publishing options for your short story. I'll see you then. 12. Publishing Options: Welcome back. There are many options for publishing your story. The wonderful thing about short stories is, is that even if you publish them traditionally with a publisher or magazine, you're often Onley selling first time or one time rights to the publisher. I always read your contract carefully. In contrast, novel contracts often give the publisher full rights over the book, even its future forms, such as audiobooks. With a short story, you can often sell the work multiple times and thus earn a bit from it every time in the form of passive income. Here are some options for publishing your story. First, you can self publish your story is a standalone e book. Self publishing is a perfectly valid option these days. An Amazon even has categories for short reads, as long as you're clear about the length of your story in your book description and maybe even in the categories and keywords, readers air fine and often excited to have access to shorts that they can start and finish during their lunch break. Or maybe even on a lazy Saturday afternoon. As we discussed earlier, you could submit your story to a writing contest or a literary journal or magazine. There are print scenes, but often many of these are online. Now you can also submit your story to an anthology. Google searches with terms like Anthology Call for Stories can help, as can checking the backs of writing magazines and checking books like writers market or novel and short story markets for the current year. And also check Facebook groups and other things. Alternatively, you can self publish your own anthology. It could be a collection of your own short stories, or it could be a collaboration with other authors. You can also publish your story as a blawg or as a freebie on a site like prolific works or book funnel with ease sites or on your own you can use your short story is a lead. Bang it where readers can get the story for free, with the option of signing up for your email newsletter and then learning about your future publications, you can even turn your short story or short story collection into an audiobook. I did a quick search on Audible for short story reads under one hour, and I got over 5200 results. So it's definitely a thing if how and where you publish your short stories is up to you. But the possibilities are nearly endless. 13. Wrapping Up and Resources: thanks again for joining this class on getting started writing short stories I've included some further resource is for you on the next screen to help you explore. I've also attached these is a file to the class project page. Don't forget to finish your class project. You can do that by sharing the genre and opening line of your story. Tell us how you plan to get that story out into the world or if you plan to keep it all to yourself, take us through your own process of creating short stories. I hope you'll join me again as I add more classes on writing, editing and design. Thanks again. See you next time.