I recently wrote three short pieces:
1. Two 75 word stories for paragraph planet: How Times Change and How It Was
2. The last 100 words of a collaborative story started by Michelle Elvy: This Day
3. A travel writing article when returning from holiday for a national newspaper's competition. It didn't win, but I found squeezing my 2 week holiday experience into 500 words a challenge. The angle had to be right and every word had to be geared towards that angle, much like with the plot in a novel. Writing the article was a good exercise and when I returned to my novel the following day, I saw it through different eyes.
I've written short pieces in writing classes before during timed exercises. The difference between timed exercises and having as much time as you like is that you can edit the piece until you're happy with it.
Editing a short piece of writing can take up to an hour or even two hours, but it's not as much work as editing a novel. For all of the above pieces, I wrote more than the required word count and edited down depending on whether words were relevant to the story/ angle. I ended up with pieces I was pleased with. However with How It Was , my editing brain noticed after submitting that it should say: [in its place] instead of [replacing where it had been] because I'd already said [had been] at the beginning of the sentence. If I'd made this change, I would have needed to readjust the rest of the paragraph to make up the 75 words.
Writing short pieces is almost like building muscle in the gym to be a faster runner.
Now that I've sent my manuscript to the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers' Scheme, I shall be getting back to Book 2 with current working title 'The Painting'. I'd like to write more flash fiction and maybe some short stories too.
I'd be interested to read your comments on anything relevant to the above. Do you have any points to add re editing or writing short fiction/articles?