Are short stories a good way to build a world?
At the beginning of 2021 I launched Synthmark which is a collection of short stories I’ve written and I’m continuing to write. I’m doing it for fun and because I need a focused creative outlet.
The aim with Synthmark, beyond the fun and enjoyment, is to do worldbuilding through short stories. Normally I would draw a map and use that as the structure and portal to draw readers into the world. But this time I decided to do something different.
Each short story will be a portal into the world of Synthmark, when combined they should give a rounded view of the world. I'll be able to showcase different characters, locations and cultures.
However, I’ve long believed that writers have the hardest job out of all artists to attract new fans. That’s because it takes more effort and commitment to read a story than it does to look at a picture.
Look at a picture. Do you like it? Yes. No.
That all happens very quickly.
It’s the main reason I’ve focused on maps for so long. Maps are an easy way for me to make images and gain attention.
But I was inspired by something on Instagram and couldn’t resist trying to build a world through short stories.
Maybe this will work for you too.
Worldbuilding through short stories and images on Instagram
Zombie Inspiration finds apocalyptic images, usually involving zombies, and writes flash fiction on their Instagram channel.
Flash fiction is super short stories. In Zombie’s case they’re usually around 100 words.
“I can do that.” I thought.
Then as usual the dreamer and perfectionist take over and I’m writing 200-600 word stories, designing the artwork myself and building a website, email list and who knows what else.
This is the Synthmark website:
I'm also creating images for each story.
Have you used short stories at all to build your world and promote it?