Summing Up

The digital age has created a Renaissance in short-form writing.

Short stories—individually and collected—now appear often in print and electronic format: in hard-copy literary journals, POD books and booklets, and as downloadable files in virtually every genre, including serialized novels. Similarly, the demand for short nonfiction is greater than ever as readers turn to a variety of sources, including social media, for consumer, travel, lifestyle, how-to, self-help, and professional or career information.

Many authors also discover that short-form publishing is a perfect laboratory for exploring new subjects and styles of writing. Ideas that would otherwise take months or years to express in book form—with no guarantee of success—can be tailored to specific audiences and “beta tested” in a fraction of the time. Still, brevity doesn't mean haste or shoddy workmanship. Like a well-cut, polished diamond, good short-form writing displays the quality of your thoughts as well as your facility with words: all in a small but elegant package.

Short-form developmental editing employs the same principles used for longer works, although viewed through a different lens. Because space is limited, manuscript strengths and weaknesses are magnified, reminding authors that whether their subject is fiction or nonfiction, every word still counts.

Jay Wurts Writer and Editor
About Jay Wurts Writer and Editor

Professional Services: Short-Form Publications

Many writers feel daunted by a book-length manuscript. Staring at that dreaded “white page” (or “blank screen”) hundreds of times until a work is finished can make that first—or even the fifth—book feel like a marathon nobody wins.

Fortunately, short-form publications are making a comeback. Blogs, apps, on-line magazines, traditional periodicals and newspapers anxious to recapture readers, short stories in e-book and print collections—even abbreviated, sequential editions like Kindle Serials—are turning that marathon into a dash. These briefer works—ranging from a few hundred to several thousand words—give both new and experienced writers a chance to explore more ideas in less time and reach a wider audience. In addition to faster composition, short-form work enjoys a quicker marketing cycle, letting you reap the rewards for your effort sooner.

Short Stories Cut to the Chase
Aspiring novelists may benefit most from experimenting with short stories. Great writers in all eras honed their skills by mastering short fiction: cultivating the more concise style, sharper imagery, and streamlined storytelling it demands. Discipline like this allows you to pack more punch on every page, create more compelling characters and more vivid, convincing worlds, and make even full-length novels move faster.

Saying More by Writing Less
Nonfiction authors enjoy even more venues for short-form work: from Internet blogs and social media to literary and performing art reviews, travel and lifestyle features, product evaluations, how-to and self-help articles—even political commentary—for traditional magazines, newspapers, and newsletters. Although the best-known short-formers are professional journalists, freelancers writing “on spec”—including stringers who work on-call—can build a diverse portfolio quickly. Although short-form subject matter may not always lend itself to later book-length treatment, you'll learn much from professional editing and as your audience grows, and so will your author's platform—often crucial to selling a first book.

Why Do I Need a Coach for Short-Form Writing?
Although it takes less time to build a cottage than a cathedral, both require a sound architectural plan and good craftsmanship. Success in all writing depends on your ability to visualize a final product, select the right materials, and then assemble them in a creative way that does the job.

For authors who want to improve their short-form skills and have existing manuscript of approximately 3,000 words or less, I provide a Diagnostic & Prescriptive (D&P) memo tailored to the needs of short-form writing, including concept assessment, market matching, evaluation of style (including sample rewrites using your own material), suggestions for appealing to specific gatekeepers, and (if requested), multiple reviews of your revisions—whether that product is a short story, feature article, or unique piece tailored to a special audience—for a flat fee of $500.

See the FAQ and Contact pages of this web site for more information about short-form manuscript development and how we can find or expand your audience for any type of writing in a quick, cost-effective way.

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