Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

It’s Not That Easy

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“Writing a short story should be easier.”

My favorite aunt made this statement when I told her I was working on a new short story.  My response to her was, “Not really.”   I explained to her simply because a short story contains fewer words, it doesn’t make it easier.  In fact, for me, it proved to be a greater challenge.

Getting my feet wet with short stories began after my first experience with NaNoWriMo.  Writing 50,000 words in 30 days was a thrilling experience.  Afterward, I decided I wanted to write more stories and maybe even be published one day.  I began writing short stories in order to enter the contest world as well as to submit some stories to magazines.

Initially, I felt I wouldn’t be able to make a short story as memorable as a full manuscript.  How could readers fall in love with my characters, if I didn’t have time to develop them? All of those quirks I had in mind for my characters, but there was no time to express the quirks. How could I establish a setting with rolling hills and the glorious autumn leaves, if I was limited to so few words?  What about my main character’s friends, readers would think my main character was a hermit.  There was no time to introduce the friends to the readers.

I learned quickly, every word had to count.  Every sentence had to advance my plot and move my character toward his or her goal.  This was hard.  I began to question why I decided to write short stories.

While writing the first story I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew, until it came time to edit. Writing a short story was time consuming, but when it came to editing, it felt like a walk in the park compared to a full manuscript.  That’s where my love for the short story began.  Several months later, one of my short stories was published.  It wasn’t easy to write, but the end result sure felt good.

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, published by Harlequin Love Inspired released on February 21, 2017 and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

6 thoughts on “It’s Not That Easy

  1. You could look at the chapters in a book as a series of short stories or you could look at a standalone short story as a slice of a larger untold story, but you are only focusing on a particular moment in that larger story. So you might develop a backstory that the reader may never know, but that backstory may help you develop the short story and help you overcome those limitations in your mind about the length of the story. That make sense?

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  2. I love writing short stories! I feel it’s a way to put out a story and get right to the point~I love reading short stories for that matter too. Stephen King’s short story’s are awesome! Doug~ I love that advice as well. Thanks for sharing!!

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  3. With many novels under my belt, I am just starting to experiment with short stories. What I like is the smaller plot, far less to consider. Having said that, my short story came in at 11K, but that’s far less than 80,000 words. I applaud your endeavors; all writing improves the craft, and shorts really crank up the writing muscles. Well done and best wishes!

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  4. Thank you, Anna. Wow, 80,000 words is a great accomplishment and a lot of editing. Sorry about the loss on Monday night. I’ll bet your husband was furious. That was just bad.

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