You’ve been getting ready to meet with one of your friends for lunch and now have 20 minutes to spare. It’s not enough time to watch an episode of your favorite show or play through a new game. It’s definitely not enough time to finish a book. You’re craving to get in a compelling story with a moral, something you can chat with your friend about. Enter short stories in English.
What Is A Short Story?
Long work novels are great because they allow you to delve into an in-depth world with fully formed characters who take you through an entire story. The problem is that not all of us have the attention span to sit through more than 50,000 words.
Most of us want something quick. We want something to give us a taste of what we were craving for without having to invest multiple days (and for many, months, or even years) trying to get through in order to fill that desire. It’s the reason why many would-be readers ultimately abandon reading and claim that they just don’t enjoy reading.
Short stories are a truncated form of writing that allow authors to explore similar settings, themes, and characters without all the added fluff that bulks up the story. Short stories are typically between 3-7,000 words and can be read by the average person in under 20 minutes. It is perfect for the masses, as it allows them to be in and out of a world without feeling like there is something missing.
For people trying to get into reading, it gives them the opportunity to quickly invest themselves in the universe. They get their curiosity piqued enough to want to pick up longer works similar to the short stories in English they are reading.
There are plenty of famous authors you may have heard of that started writing short stories in English. George R.R. Martin and Stephen King are two well-knownones. They’ve become huge international successes in the literary field and can point back to their writing short stories.
I bring this up not to tell you that you should strive to be at their level of fame. Short stories can provide you a great foundation to explore your own writing style and discover your niche. You may end up doing it as a hobby and continue writing short stories occasionally. You might also decide to only write short stories full time. There is plenty that writing short stories in English can do for you.
Why Write Short Stories In English? Why Not A Different Language?
You’ve probably been wondering why I keep saying to write short stories in English and not other languages. The truth is, you should write your short stories in whatever language you are most comfortable in. However, if you have a solid grasp of the English language then I implore you to write short stories in English.
I came to the United States back in the year 2000. Because I was young, I got teased a lot for my thick accent during the first couple of years I was here. I dropped my accent completely after those two years. Most people now would have no idea that I read, write, and fluently speak Spanish. I had an advantage too, though. When I came to the United States, I already had a solid foundation of the English language.
All my brothers, my cousins, my parents, and friends from El Salvador were all taught English when we were in school. It wasn’t like the language classes they teach you in the United States either, it was in-depth and made you have a solid understanding of it, even if you had a thick accent while speaking.
To top this off, I recently went to Ecuador with my wife. She doesn’t speak any Spanish and we found that most of the people there could communicate with her fairly well in English. I found the same thing in Spain, Canada, China, and even vendors from Russia that I’ve worked with before. Interesting how all of these countries seem to urge their people to learn a second language, and not just any, specifically English.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Writing short stories in English will allow you to tap into a much bigger market in the world. Even if you intend to make no money from your short stories and only want to let people enjoy your work as much as you enjoy writing the short stories for them, you should give the opportunity for the most amount of people to consume your content.
There is nothing wrong with flying under the radar, but most of the time people choose this route because they are fearful of something. When it comes to our writing, we are scared of being judged negatively. If someone judges you for what you wrote or tries to bash your short stories, it just means they may not be the right audience for your content. Don’t take it personally and don’t let it stop you. Use the criticism to write even better so you can reach all of those people that will absolutely love your short stories.
Even if you feel your work is mediocre, or bad, there are people out there that would appreciate it and help you grow as much as you can help them grow from reading it. It would only be fair that you write your short stories in English so you can allow the majority of the near 8 billion people in our world to enjoy what you will enjoy creating for them.
The Benefits Of Writing Short Stories
There are a few different reasons why writing short stories are beneficial for you. These are both emotional and psychological benefits that can carry over to many other aspects of your life.
Ignoring the facts will only put you in a position of disadvantage, especially as a creative. We tend to have unstable moods at times. Finding our outlet allows us to maintain a baseline that can propel us forward into our own individual greatness.
Writing Short Stories in English Will Make You Happy
Let’s start things off by making a far-out statement. Writing short stories will make you feel happy.
Crazy, I know. But I can tell you that each time I begin writing, I feel fulfilled. It allows me to be in the places I want to be and let my mind wander. I enter a state of flow where everything just comes to me. I am simply the person that records it all.
My characters speak amongst themselves and I simply listen. I hear their thoughts, I feel their pains, and I get to share their triumphs with them. Allowing your creativity to flow will give you an escape that is millions better than reading a novel or watching a movie. You are forming a world within your own mind that is so much more vivid than anything else anyone could ever try to inject into you.
Even if you write something dark, you will feel happy because it is part of who you are and you created it.
Fuck Therapy, You Have Short Stories Instead
I’ve sat down with a therapist before and it cost an arm that I’m still trying to get back. It can be really helpful, but it’s expensive. I found that a lot of the time I didn’t feel comfortable talking to them. They’ll also tell you a little something I’ll say right now; try writing about your experience.
While their suggestion to write is geared more toward your feelings, writing short fiction stories allows you to do the same but express it through your characters. Allowing yourself to analyze your emotions through someone else’s point of view can be more clear. It can also help you overcome your emotions just as you see your characters doing the same.
Not only that, but you can also help others overcome those very same problems as they read your short stories in English and connect with your characters too.
Short Stories Provide A Project We Can Accomplish
Maybe you’re like me, that thrives on projects. Not physical labor, though. I hate that.
Writing short stories in English provides me with projects that I can work on consistently. It keeps me focused and engaged while I chip away at each story, one word at a time. I wake up and look forward to working on it. I yearn to delve into the minds of my characters and all the fucked up thoughts they’ll have.
When I finish the first draft of my stories, I get a sense of accomplishment. I feel powerful and rewarded. Anyone else could cheer me on, try to reward me, but there is nothing better than the feeling of finishing the short stories or novels you were working on.
Writing Short Stories Helps You Understand Human Behavior
The more you write, the easier you will recognize patterns of human behavior. It will help you pay attention outside of your short stories.
You will find yourself observing friends, strangers, and family members as they interact with you or other people. You will analyze their facial expressions and movements. You’ll catch their tone of voice and even the little actions they do when they think no one is looking.
Writing short stories will make you hyper-aware of all the little things that make us human as you try to give your characters life.
Your Voice Will Be Found Through Short Stories in English
I’m not just talking about finding your voice as an author, that will come too. I’m talking about the way you speak among others.
Writing short stories in English will expand your vocabulary. They allow you to think of words on the spot that add fluidity to your speech. Even if you choose to still speak with simple words, like I would recommend you do with most people, you will have them readily available in your arsenal.
You’ll find that as you continue writing short stories in English, things will fall into place quickly. Writing will become easier, which sets you up better for the next one.
Confidence Will Manifest Itself Through Your Stories
Not only will the characters in your short stories allow you to see how they overcome their difficulties, but the act of finishing the work itself will also make you feel powerful. Remember how I mentioned I felt when I finished writing something?
The more you understand your voice, human behavior, and writing itself, the more secure you will feel in all aspects of your life.
Not many people can say they’ve ever written short stories, let alone a full-length novel. Hell, most people can’t say they’ve ever written anything at all! Even people that feel the yearning to write end up coming up with excuses as to why they can’t instead. You would be a million miles ahead of most.
It also provides you the means to leave a small part of yourself once you’re gone. That should make you feel pretty good about yourself.
Short Stories Have Been Around Forever, And People Love ‘Em
Humanity has been passing along stories since the beginning of our species. We thrive on storytelling.
Think about all the different mediums we have created in order for us to continue telling ourselves stories. Movies, shows, video games, books, theater, pictures, and even audiobooks. Storytelling is what makes humans feel good and you get to be a part of their happiness by providing the majority of the population with your own short stories in English.
Your Mind Will Be Explored
Short stories are the best way for you to get inside your head and explore all the strange, loving, and fucked up thoughts that make up who you are. It’s a wonderful feeling to let your mind wander and is similar to the feeling of freedom from when you meditate.
As you do it more and more, you get more comfortable with who you are. All of those different characters you created are a small piece of you, even the ones you may not like. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve written some short stories in English with some pretty shitty characters that I truly appreciate as they allowed me to see the type of person I would not want to be. They are small pieces of me that I’ve blown out of proportion and have helped me determine who I want to be.
Don’t be scared of exploring the dark thoughts that crawl through your mind. They’re a realistic side of who we are, and can help you make a fully formed character that more people, including yourself, can learn from.
The Genre Of Short Stories in English You Should Write
This is where I urge you to dig deep within yourself. Short stories are quick and just as your reader can get in and out in 20 minutes, you can also get in and out faster than a full-fledged novel.
Writing short stories in English can allow you to try out different genres and find the ones that you feel best about. When I started, I wrote a few comedies and a couple of romantic short stories. I loved comedies and plan on mixing elements of it into all my work. What really drew me in, though was short horror stories and short sci fi stories.
These are a blast to write, so much so that I decided to start blending them together. Now, I write scary stories with sci fi mixed in and feel like I’ve found my niche. I also noticed that I like writing short stories with moral ambiguity as they allow me to explore a better side of humanity.
Post apocalyptic short stories are also my jam as they are a form of sci fi and horror stories. You can check out my post apocalyptic short story series here.
I recommend you write whatever short storiesin English come to mind, whether it’s what you would normally read or not. Eventually, you will notice that you will gravitate toward specific genres and your niche will be found.
How To Write Short Stories In English
I highly recommend you check out the post I wrote up on How To Write Short Stories For Adults. It will provide you with more detail and a closer understanding of the process.
Start off by allowing all of your ideas to work their way into your mind. It doesn’t matter if you think they are great ideas or the dumbest thing you’ve ever thought of. Make sure you write them all down so you can explore them later. These ideas will combine together and create something great.
From there, create an outline for your short stories. It doesn’t have to be long. The outline should be enough to understand your characters, their struggles, and a summary of how the story will go.
You need to make sure that you write every single day. Find a time that works best for you. Mine is in the early morning before anyone else is awake. Yours could be in the afternoon, before bed, whenever you feel most fresh. You may write for 30 minutes or 8 hours, it doesn’t matter. The point is to write every day and then read what you’ve written.
I don’t mean immediately. Give yourself time to separate from the story a bit and return to it at a later point. Read what you’ve written out loud so you can spot any issues. You’ll easily pick out where things don’t flow within your short stories.
A big issue you may find yourself doing at first is forcing your characters to do things in order to keep to your original outline. Don’t do this. Your characters are unique and they will make their own decisions. You are only there to record all of their adventures. Give them the opportunity to learn from the story in the way that they choose.
Finally, reward yourself when you finish the first draft of any of your short stories in English. It could be something small, like a meal or a soda. It doesn’t matter, as long as you reward yourself. Now you just have to decide how you will get this story out to people who can enjoy it as much as you did writing it.
Get To Writing Your Short Story in English
Short stories are a great way for you to dip your feet into your very own world and be out before your mind gets lost in there. They are only 3-7,000 words, which allows your readers to soak it all up in under 20 minutes as well.
There are a lot of benefits to writing short stories as well. They have been around since the beginning of humanity and have allowed people to learn through others’ experiences. Your confidence will grow as you write more short stories. The psychological and emotional benefits of writing short stories in English will let happiness enter your life.
Writing short stories will also give you the opportunity to learn the genre that you feel most drawn toward. You can tour through writing short horror stories, short sci fi stories, and any others that you might be intrigued by.
Focusing on writing short stories in English will allow you to tap into a worldwide market. This will let more people read your work and learn from what you have to offer them. Don’t be scared if you can’t think of any lessons either, they will come.
Let your mind wander and write down all the ideas that come to you. Join them together and build out your short stories into an outline. Write every day, no matter how you feel. When you’re done, read what you wrote at a later point to find any issues that may pop up.
Treat your characters as real people. Understand that once you make them and fully flesh them, you have no control over them. You have control over the world around them, but they will make their own decisions. If you do, they will reward you as you should do yourself when you finish your first draft.
If you need any help with it or need someone to read through, I’d love to help. Feel free to shoot me a message!
With a short story in English, you’ll be done writing it in no time. All you have to do is get started, so get on with it!