There are different reasons why one would write a short story. Either there are guidelines and the story was crafted to fit them. Or it was driven by a premise, idea or to try something new.
Competitions, anthologies and magazines
As well as for flash fictions, publishers, magazines and platforms may ask for submissions. And if one is anything like me, there is nothing as helpful to start writing, as a deadline. The submission guidelines may spark an initial idea and using a formula or writing freestyle, a short story takes shape. Also, with a body of work, older short stories can easily be re-submitted with small or no changes.
As for the flash fictions, there will be no links. I myself have bookmarked three pages that collect different submissions and I visit them when procrastination on writing.
Short stories make for great collections to self publish. Or – for established authors – to traditionally publish.
Look for a theme, that connects all the short stories that should share a book. Again, I hope to gain more competence in this field. My theme would be strawberries and all I had to do would be write those stories I plotted in the last few posts…
Anyways, combine short stories, that share a theme and make them a short story collection. Or brainstorm many ideas concerning a theme you like and write the stories. Then publish it.
When writing a novel, it is very common for so called plot bunnies to appear. Ideas for other stories, side quests, background stories of side characters, flashbacks and so on. This is material for short stories. Collect these ideas and when the idea won’t let go, make it a short story.
These pieces of fiction make for excellent bonus material for a novel. Give it away for free, as teaser before the release or as addition for fans.
Proof of concept
This category is meant if you would like to write something bigger, but were unsure whether the idea is appealing enough for you to write or for readers to read. In this case, just try your hands on a short story. Publish it and await the response. Afterwards you are free to decide if you want to expand the idea into a novel or novella, or leave it at that.
What’s your favorite way of publishing a short story? Have you published? I thing a should write a post about rejections… They are inevitably part of the publishing game.