Hone Your Writing Skills with Short Stories

In honor of the upcoming release of the first book in the new series of devotionals for fiction lovers, I thought my readers might like to know more about the authors who contributed short stories to the book. This week’s guest is Jeanette Hanscome.

Jeanette Hanscome graphic

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Jeanette, thank you for submitting a story for 21 Days of Grace. How is writing a short story different from writing a novel? How are they similar?

Writing a short story can be just as challenging as writing a novel. Both require strong characters and an intriguing story. The challenge with a short story is that a lot happens in a short amount of space, so it has to be well developed.


What do you enjoy about writing short stories? What are the challenges?

I enjoy taking a character through one challenge and seeing her grow as it is resolved. I also appreciate that short stories have allowed me to hone my fiction-writing skills after a few years of putting that part of my creativity on hold.


What are the benefits of getting a short story published?

Getting short stories published can help a new writer earn publishing credits and a more advanced author build her platform. If I read a short story and like it, I will see if the author has any books published.


Have you ever published a short story other than through this fiction-lover’s devotional series? If so, where? And what was that experience like?

In 2013 I wrote the short story “Gifts” as part of Kathi Macias’s 12 Days of Christmas series (published by Helping Hands Press). It was my first attempt at fiction in several years, so it felt wonderful! I had so much fun writing it, and it allowed me to weave in a meaningful experience that helped my family through a very painful time. I realized later that the title reflected what the opportunity felt like to me.


What advice would you share with someone who wants to write short stories?

There are plenty of markets for short stories, including Sunday school papers and anthologies, so it’s a great place to start. Just remember that quality writing is just as important in shorter pieces as in books. Hone your craft, create strong characters, and build an engaging plot just as you would in a novel.


Jeanette Hanscome 067 headshot copyJeanette Hanscome has written four published books and many articles and stories. Her recent work includes the short Christmas fiction e-book Gifts, and Running with Roselle (coauthored with blind 9/11 survivor Michael Hingson). Jeanette lives in the Bay Area and enjoys knitting and crocheting, coffee dates with friends, and being the mom of two amazing sons.