A Tale of Two Short Stories


As I was wrapping up developmental edits for my editor on Six Train’s sequel, I thought I would do something fun on the side. I decided to enter a short story contest.

This was going to be a nice break from novel writing. I had a flash fiction piece that I could weave into a cool short story. I started working on it in March. When I handed in my developmental edits at the end of March, I had 2 weeks to really work on my short story before the deadline.

Doctors visits were scheduled, chores I hadn’t gotten to were going to happen, and I was taking care of other life things that I neglected during revisions. But this would be my only writing thing. Unfortunately, as I got more and more into edits, I realized this short story didn’t quite fit the requirements of the contest. But it did fit another contest I’d heard about and that contest had a deadline at the end of April.

Now I needed a new short story for the initial contest deadline that was coming up in less than 2 weeks.

I tried not to panic. But I did panic. Then I remembered that I kept a file of ideas and stories I’d started. There had to be something in there. I found 400 words I’d written back in 2010. I love this idea and never got back to it. I could weave it into a short story. Now I had something to enter in the first contest.


It was hard and challenging and frustrating. But then I realized, I hadn’t written a short story in 5 years. This was exactly how it should be.

One story “One Last Night” came easily and quickly. I had a detail that I had to work out, but the beginning, middle, and end were always apparent to me. It was short–1300 words. It had a more literary style of writing and was present tense. I submitted that last week.

With the other one “Her Mother’s Bones,” the end eluded me. I couldn’t figure out how to wrap it up. I got feedback from writing buddies and yet the end still wasn’t making sense. I didn’t know how to bring the story together. It took me another two weeks to see the ending. It’s far more plot driven and written in past tense. And now that’s almost ready to submit.

It made me laugh when I realized that my short stories also paralleled my writing styles with Six Train and The Girl.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ll let you know if either wins or gets selected for an anthology.

Do you write short stories? Do you submit them for anthologies?



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25 Responses to A Tale of Two Short Stories

  1. Wishing you the best with your short stories, Kourtney. I’ve written a few short stories that I’ve submitted to contests. I find them challenging.

    • Thanks Jill! I haven’t done any contests since before the novels were published. I figured it would be a good way to keep my writing muscles in shape during my break. It was definitely challenging. I think I prefer flash fiction or 1000 word short stories. Give me too much word count and I flounder.

  2. Good luck Kourtney! I’ve had a little bit of luck with short stories and I regularly enter them in competitions or submit them to magazines – it’s great to be able to write other things and hopefully get somewhere with them while working on the novels that take much longer.

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Best of luck with these!

    I don’t write short stories–well, I wrote one in between projects a few years back but never revisited it. It was long-ish (10K words), but I always cut a lot out of my first drafts, so it would end up shorter. Maybe someday I’ll have to look at it again.

    • Aw thank you! I thought it might be a good way to grow my readership.

      I’m more a fan of flash fiction–under 200 words. 😉 I think of it as stretching between marathon novel drafting and revisions. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s hard, but in the end I know it’s worth it.

  4. davidprosser says:

    Best of luck with them both Kourtney.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  5. Aquileana says:

    Way to go, Kourt… It is great that you can adapt to shorter forms, and that you made it through, in spite of the initial constrictions
    “One Last Night” seems like a success to me… I wish you very good luck my friend. Sending love. Aquileana ⭐️

  6. I started out writing short stories. I’ve put them together in a book. They are a great way to work through writers block when you’re working on a longer project.

  7. Pete Denton says:

    Good luck!

    I haven’t written a short story for years either. I do like a bit of flash fiction with a 500 word limit, helps focus me into an editing zone.

    • I love flash fiction. It really helps you cut the fat in your writing. I find I can be super succinct. But a short story is a weird middle ground between flash fiction and novel, and sometimes I just stumble around in that format for a while. 🙂

  8. I prefer writing longer works, but I have written short stories. Two have been published so far, which has boosted my morale — especially because I find short stories to be more difficult to write.

    Good luck! I’m rooting for you!

    • I have one of the books on my tbr pile. I’ve been slowed down with edits, but I plan to read it soon! I’ve been doing novels for so long, I find them easier, but I like to stretch my writing muscles too. Aw thanks! I won’t find out for months, but it would be really cool if one of my stories got picked.

  9. Brilliant that you were able to dip into your archives and pulls something out to polish up and finish Kourtney and to answer your question ” Do you write short stories ” I have, but not often.. 🙂
    Love and Hugs my friend xx

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