So you did it.
Or you’re going to do it. You’re going to write a short story.
It’s on the books, and it’s going to happen. Really.
With that said, you’re not looking forward to it one bit. It seems like such a pointless effort.
It might not take you more than an hour or two to write. But it’s still an hour or two that could have been used toward getting published.
You could have been working on your novel manuscript instead – something that has a chance of going somewhere.
It’s understandable if you think that way. You’re only making logical conclusions based on what you’ve seen and not seen. After all, when everything is written and done, short story writers don’t get anywhere near the recognition that novelists do.
That’s a valid fact to recognize. But so is the Writing Rule below.
Did you ever watch Disney’s Inside Out? It’s a great movie that explores human emotions and psychology, including short-term and long-term memory.
It also involves a giant pit where completely forgotten memories get disposed of, never to be seen or heard from again. And that’s how I think a lot of novelists and novelists-in-the-making view their short story-writing potential… as small pieces of themselves automatically destined for the trash heap.
But the situation isn’t anywhere that bleak. There's a lot to be positive about.
Short story writers have publishing opportunities too.
As detailed in yesterday’s Writing Challenge, writing a short story can be a great way to hone your novel-creating craft even if you never actually do anything with said creative effort when it’s done.
However, if you do decide you want to publish your work, there are opportunities available. Plenty of people put together anthologies every year, and literature-minded magazines and websites accept submissions as well. It’s just a matter of finding them.
Isn’t it always?
When searching out places that accept short story submissions, you can start with a simple search. Believe it or not, that can yield worthwhile results just as long as you follow two simple rules.
Be as specific as possible, since most short-story publishers are genre-specific. Don’t just put in something like “places to publish short stories.” Make it more along the lines of “fantasy fiction short story submissions” or “mystery short story submissions.”
Scroll right on past all those advertisements for publishers who seem so excited to publish your story. They’re sharks waiting to eat you up, little fishy. Swim away!
There’s also always the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2020. It's chock full of publishing possibilities, complete with descriptions of the submissions they accept.
You do have to pay for this hefty book, but it might be well worth the current $20 price tag.
I’m genuinely not sure whether they include anthology opportunities as well, but it’s no big deal if they don’t. Those are easy enough to find by joining Facebook writers’ groups, whether general free-for-alls or genre-specific.
Many of them – especially the organization-associated or otherwise really large ones – will have annual or bi-annual openings for short story submissions. And even if they don’t, you could always post a question about where to find those kinds of opportunities.
When you do though, prepare to be potentially overwhelmed by the responses. When you know where to find them, there’s a pretty big pool to choose from.