Guest blog by Joshua Johnson
I am not gifted as such an artist. For more than a decade I tried to write standalone short stories only to find myself building them into novels. I never had the self-control to keep things short and to the point.
The biggest thing that got in my way was the worldbuilding. I wanted to create, and convey to the reader, the world into which I was throwing them.
It wasn’t until I created the world of Zaria and my Griffins and Gunpowder universe that I came to see short stories as something that I could use as worldbuilding in their own right.
I want to be clear: your short stories, even as worldbuilding, need to have a plot, characters, and story all their own. But writing multiple short stories in the same world as a novel has the distinct advantage that you can partially rely on those other works as your worldbuilding.
Worldbuilding through short stories, novelettes and novellas allows you a greater deal of flexibility, not only in writing those short stories but in writing the novels that they are meant to accompany.
Short stories that are built in the same world allow you to give details of your world in bite sized bits, rather than infodumping in one long story. You can introduce a nation in one short story, and give the most basic information about them. In another story, you can give some of the history of the nation, and tell about its people.
Using this method, you limit the amount of background that you dump on readers while still getting the information across to them in an effective manner.
Joshua Johnson is the creator of the Griffins and Gunpowder universe, a world of Gunpowder Fantasy. He has written one novel, The Cerberus Rebellion, and a series of short stories, collectively The Chesian Wars. His website is www.gunpowderfantasy.com