Tip of the Day: Make sure at least one book you're reading is a manageable sized paperback for easy reading while on the exercise bike/treadmill.
After months of writing and revising novels, I decided in March I'd focus on reworking some short stories. Over the past couple years, I've drafted pieces for children's magazines and either stopped subbing them after one rejection, or put them aside to focus on novels. I've never had a mag story published, but I'm still motivated to keep trying.
I have to say, it's a welcome break! The different pace of the stories, and the feeling that the end of the piece is always in sight are good things to dabble in once in a while.
So what differences have I noticed so far in writing short stories for mags as compared to novels -- things I definitely need to keep in mind while I play around with my writing in March -- that I can share?
1. Short stories need to jump right into the conflict. While the same is said for novels, it is also said that novels can start too soon, like before the reader has any empathy for the MC. But in a short story with a very limited word count, the conflict needs to happen almost immediately.
2. Short stories need voice. Yes, this is also needed in novels, but the voice of the narrative and voice of the MC both need to be super strong from the first word. There are less words allowed to build characters, so a lot of the characterization must come from the voice.
3. Short stories need every word to matter. In a novel, a few extraneous sentences here or there can get buried in the large number of pages. In a short story, each word that doesn't matter will stick out and make the reader ask why it was there. Or precious words that could be better spent on areas that do need developement for the short story are wasted elsewhere.
What tips do you have for writing short stories for children's magazines?
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing