Hold On to Your Shorts!

Hi Everyone

I am pleased to announce that today I have the writer and published author Jennifer Owenby as my guest blogger.

Jennifer lives in the northwest of the united states on the pacific ocean with her husband and children. She is a published author of short stories, a freelance writer, and some days will attempt a novel.

“One thing I’ve learned, is that the craft of writing is an ongoing project. If I’d realised that when I started, I wonder if I would have continued. Now, I can’t stop. It’s as much a part of who I am as the air I breathe.”

As Jennifer is a short story expert, I thought it would be fantastic to find out more about the appeal of short story writing and this is what she had to say…..

Hold on To Your Shorts!

I love writing and the more I do it, the more I love it. Like many others, it’s a part of who I am.

Any form of writing is great practice but I feel the value of working on short stories is often overlooked. Here are three great reasons to write and hold on to your shorts.

  1. They are a great tool for working on “problem spots.
  2. They force you to tighten up your words
  3. You can publish them in between novels

I attended a short fiction class and during that time students wrote a new short story. After completion, the instructor worked one on one with us.  Together, we looked at the story in sections, fixed problem areas and discussed why the changes were made. Working on a smaller story and understanding how to fix the issues, then allowed me to apply that knowledge to my novel. I learned faster dealing with a smaller story. It was easier to identify, understand and correct the problems, rather than be overwhelmed by a novel sized story.

Another reason to write short stories is it teaches you to choose your words carefully. It forces the writer to think about each word, especially if there’s a word limit. This helps to eliminate wordy sentences and is a great way to practice throwing out adverbs and replace them with action verbs.

Have you noticed that authors who have published books through traditional publishing companies and self published authors are creating short stories and novellas in-between books?  This allows the author to pull in additional readers between projects and gives fans new material to read. These shorts are either separate stories that involve a character’s back story, or some other link to their published novels. This also allows the author’s name to remain on the book list instead of fading into the back ground.

There are several great books on writing short stories including, “Let’s Write a Short Story” by Joe Bunting and “Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories” by Margaret Lucke, but if you have a good outline and understand the mechanics, as long as you are writing, you are only going to get better. So, hold on to your shorts and thanks for stopping by!

A huge thanks to Jennifer for this insightful post. I have to say that I don’t think I will ever look at short story writing in the same way again.

Jennifer can be contacted on jenowenby@live.com

Her most recent magazine publication is:

“The Long Road Home” short story for Chinook 2012 literary magazine in print and online: http://www.ojc.edu/chinook/Chinook_2012.pdf

Jennifer owns ONB Freelance Services, specialising in writing articles and online content for businesses and entertainment. Her experience includes the publication of several short stories in print, as well as contracted freelance work. Jennifer states, she offers low rates for content, articles, set up and maintenance of blogs.

Her online portfolio can be viewed by clicking any of the links below:

17 thoughts on “Hold On to Your Shorts!

  1. Great post Jennifer, thanks for having her share her insight Sandra!

    I’ve submitted a number of short stories to various publications recently, often they come with a word limit. I’ve really enjoyed working word limits of only a few thousand words, it really does force you to focus on your story telling craft.

    Learning to tell a story in an engaging and efficient manner is a really important skill to develop 🙂

    Thanks for sharing! All the best.



    1. Thanks so much. I am glad you enjoyed this post. Just to let you know, in a few months time, I am planning to have an e-Book out on Amazon and on my own site quirkybooks.net after it has been reconstructed – about writing to help other writers. Shhhh! I haven’t told any other bloggers about that yet – Guess I just did. It should be in a similar conversational style as my blog. My e-Book about breaking through the barriers of redundancy to get back into work, will most likely be out first.


    1. I am absolutely thrilled to receive both of these awards from you. To know that you enjoy reading my blog is a true blessing. Thanks from my heart.
      I am currently preparing to go away to The Business Show in London this coming week but I surely will get around to accepting these awards officially.


  2. Wandered over here from Jen’s blog announcing the discussion. Good ideas here. As a journalist, I’ve been writing nonfiction articles and reviews of NYC events. I also have a poetry blog. But I think I will take this route as well and maybe send out my work. What do I have to lose? I’m filling out my platform to eventually set up a novel I’ve written…and nonfiction piece on losing weight/eating healthily, the journey I took. The SS route is a way to get there, as well. Thanks for the encouragement.


    1. Hi Carole – Great to hear from you. Absolutely you have nothing to lose by trying short story writing. I think Jennifer has given us a wonderful insight as to why short story writing can help us to write novels. It’s interesting to read about the type of writing you do. Just to clarify, is your novel going to be non-fiction? I enjoy writing fiction and non-fiction but seem to be focusing more on non-fiction. Which do you prefer to write?


    1. Hi Jackie, I am glad you enjoy writing short stories. I think anyone who can write a short story is hugely talented as they only have a limited amount of words to work with, so good on you.


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