Writing and Publishing

Analyze Your Short Stories

Analyze Your Short Stories

In my post “Writers Should Start Short and Then Go Long,” I talked about the benefits of writing short stories. I’ve catalogued mine and analyzed them. You should analyze your short stories too.

Here Are My Results

So far, I’ve written 23 short stories (plus one that turned into a novella).

Most of them are third person, past tense, which most readers prefer and is an easy default for most authors. But I’ve also written first person, as well as present tense, in addition to one second person piece.

Here is the breakdown:

  • Third person, past tense: 14 stories
  • First person, present tense: 5 stories
  • First person, past tense: 2 stories
  • Third person, present tense: 1 story
  • Second person, present tense: 1 story

First person, past tense is the easiest to write, but I prefer the personal, immediacy of first person, present tense. (And I doubt I’ll ever write second person again.)

Considering Genre

Looking at the genre is a bit more complicated, as some of them I’m not really sure about and others are cross genre. Here’s my first attempt:

  • Contemporary fiction: 7
  • Young Adult: 6
  • Middle Grade: 4 (all my middle grade shorts are backstories for characters in my novels)
  • Contemporary fantasy: 3
  • Sci-Fi: 2
  • Romance: 1 (though most of my writing has a romantic element)

As far as my novels—two are done but not-yet-published with five more in various stages of writing—they are all third person, past tense.

And my one novella is first person, present tense.

For genre, I think my novels cover young adult, contemporary fantasy, romance, and sci-fi.

Analyze Your Short Stories

Why do I share this?

Analyze your short stories to see what you write—and don’t write. Also notice what you like and don’t like.

Use the results to chart your path forward.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.