If you’re looking for a deadline, look no more, you have just found twelve. 12 Short Stories is a writing challenge to help you conquer the blank page, a place to kick procrastination butt and to create a body of work by writing one short story per month.

Getting started – Printable instructions.

Can you write 12 short stories in 12 months? Join our writing challenge today.
Why short stories?

Because they’re awesome, but also because:

  1. You can hone your craft

A short story is a perfect place to practice and to hone your craft. We all have strengths and weaknesses as writers. Some writers excel at dialogue but suck at setting and description or their plots rock, but their characters are flat and predictable. A short story offers us the opportunity to improve our weaknesses and have fun with our strengths.

2. There is less pressure

When we write novels, we need to keep our wits about us. We need 60 coherent scenes, in the correct order that shows us the story. With a short story, there is less pressure.

3. Your prompts can be published

Every writer needs to practice and a daily prompt is great, but when you turn that prompt into a short story you have something to enter, publish or stick up on the fridge. Prompts tend to remain in our notebooks; short stories become something you can use. Don’t stop with the prompts though. They help you find ideas.

4. They give you a break

Writing a novel is as challenging as it is thrilling. There are times when the words flow and the story works, then there are times when they don’t. That is when you write a short story.

5. The reduced word count makes you work hardwrite 12 short stories in 12 months, writers write, stephen king, writing challenge

Novels have space, short stories don’t. If you overwrite, this is a great way to shorten and strengthen your writing. When you must count, and evaluate each word, it changes the way you write.

They give you deadlines: There are hundreds, if not thousands of short story competitions. Use them to work towards your goals and deadlines.

6. They are good for setting short-term goals

When we write novels, they can take months or even years. Short stories offer an opportunity to set short-term goals to keep us motivated and invigorated for the long-term goal achievement.

7. You can deal with back-story

Writing short stories is a great way of getting to know your characters. Put them into a situation that you haven’t thought of before or that isn’t included in your book and see what they get up to. Or write that important event in their childhood that shaped them and changed their lives. You won’t necessarily use it, but it’s a great way to layer and explore a character.

8. You can experiment

This is my favourite part of writing short stories. If you always write in the third person, try first or even second person. If you have never written fantasy, give it a go. If a scene from your novel isn’t working, change characters and write it as a short story from another character’s point of view.

9. They allow you to brainstorm

Use a short story to explore a theme or an alternative ending to your scene or story. Change viewpoint, gender or genre. There are no rules. The short story is a brilliant tool. Use it.

Short stories are valuable and it would be awesome if you would like to join us for this adventure.

Mia will be writing a series of posts about the craft of short story writing. These will be published once a week, on a Wednesday (mostly) on. Use the Craft of the Short Story button at the top of the page to read them.

You share your story to your own profile on the day of the deadline, as well as comment on four stories written by other writers.

On the day of the deadline, the new prompt will be made available. That gives you roughly four weeks to write your story. Please read our Submission Guidelines.

The word counts will vary every month.

The goal is to have 12 short stories at the end of the year and a seriously improved skill set.

Please remember: This is not a competition, although that will happen later. It’s about discipline, productivity, and learning. Not all our stories will be great, but they will at least be written.

For more information, check out How it works, FAQs and Submission Guidelines.