By a 'short short', I mean a short story which is no more than 1000 words long. I have written stories of 100, 300, 400 and 500 words but these have usually been for Flash Fiction competitions which have had a very tight limit. As writers, perhaps we shouldn't be concerned with word count because a story should be as long as it takes to tell the whole story. Most of my stories end up over 2000 words and lately, I seem to be favouring ones that are even longer, with around 3000 words. However, word count does matter when submitting to magazine editors and especially to competition judges where there is a set word limit.
Over the next weeks, I'm setting myself a goal to write a 'womag' type story of around 1000 words which would fill about one page in the magazine and I'm looking for your help. As many of you know, I'm still chasing that elusive first acceptance. I'm doing my homework by reading the different magazines and trying to get a 'feel' for what the editors are looking for. What do you think are the elements of a good 'short short' story? What was the first story you had accepted in a woman's magazine? What made that one stand out from others that you had submitted?
I did find a home for two longer stories this week when I submitted them to the Candy Jar Books Short Story competition. The word limit for each story was 3000 words.
Candy Jar Books is a publisher based in Cardiff and has been running a book festival all this week. I attended two events - 'How to be a Fibber Extraordinaire' with author, Laura Foakes, and illustrator, Emma Taylor, who were running a children's workshop based on their book, 'The Liars and Fibbers' Academy' and an adult writing workshop with Michaela Weaver about her book, 'Manic Mondays'. It was good to meet both Laura and Michaela and hear about how they published their first books.
Thank you for reading my blog. I'd love to read your ideas about what makes a good 1000 word story so please leave a comment. :-)
You may follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer page.