When I wrote my first short story (in over a decade) back in 2007, I had my basic plot figured out, but really didn’t have a clue about characterisation and point of view. I remember when I had the first draft finished, I sent it to my beta readers and they wrote back utterly confused. It wasn’t clear which character’s thoughts were being shown, as I kept flitting between both with no discernible section breaks. After many revisions (and reading character and viewpoint), the story was eventually published in 2009 in Blood Moon Rising issue 39. Read it here

I really think short stories are so important to a writer for several reasons. If you want to write something of novel length, you can explore characters, POV, and iron out other writing issues in a smaller version first. Even better if you can get your short story published, as this shows you have a style that will sell, and builds your CV for a potential agent or publisher down the line. This is just my opinion, but I don’t think too many agents will take a chance on an unknown writer if they don’t have any credentials to their name – which is why I’ve been submitting my short stories to ezines and print magazines. It’s most important to write short stories for enjoyment, of course, but building up a track record and working out your style and story ideas in a more manageable size really helps too.

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is a novelist and poet. Her debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road was published by Blossom Spring Publishing in October 2019 and her second novel, The Buddha's Bone is forthcoming in October 2021. Leilanie has also published three poetry collections: The Redundancy of Tautology (Cyberwit, 2021); Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015) and two self-published pamphlets: Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012); Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), satirical novella Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014) and surreal novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart (Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, 2017). Leilanie is also Editor in Chief of Bindweed Magazine, a poetry and fiction online magazine that also publishes a quarterly print anthology. She currently lives in Belfast with her writer and poet husband, Joseph Robert and their lively literary tot, a voracious reader of educational books. Literary blog: https://leilaniestewart.com/ Meandi Books: http://meandibooks.bigcartel.com/ Bindweed Magazine: https://bindweedmagazine.wordpress.com/

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