I’ll just say upfront that this is an idea that I’m simply putting out there. I haven’t done it myself yet. Had to shower first. Heck, I haven’t written completed short stories since I learned proper short story structure.
Onward with the idea. Short story is a different format of story telling. We all know that. But can we use this format as a tool for worldbuilding? As an exploration of our world we have built so long? Your first thought might be to write a novel or novel series, where you will show your world and characters in all it’s glory. You can do that if your vision of your world is crystal clear. But what if it’s not? Or your world is too big to see it whole.
If it’s too big, zoom in. Like in google earth. Maybe you’ll need to zoom in even more. Choose a random place, a random person in your world and follow him or her. Allow him to show you his life. He might not like it, be careful. Watch what this person is doing and write it down. Then put it in short story format. Or even in mini story format. Maybe it’s just a simple dialog. Jot it down. Let them speak and do their thing. Explore the world you have built in this way.
Chill just chill
Don’t put a pressure on yourself that you must show it to someone. Remember you are using short stories as a tool. Add it to your tool box. Just like vocabulary and sentence structure. If you are worried about losing control, don’t be. You don’t have to control character’s life. Let it flow through you up (down?) to your finger tips. Then translate it in understandable structure. Best thing of short stories is that you must look at only one moment in time.
Another fun thing that came into my mind. Or most likely I read it somewhere. Take random character from your world and put it in totally alien environment. For example, if you have a not technologically advanced civilization, put a car or space ship in their midst and observe how they will react. Or put a human or alien from a highly advanced civilization in a low tech world. Captain Marvel had a funny scene with this. And again write this moment as a short story. I think this ties in with my previous post where I said to build your world with stories.
Think about it this way. Using short stories as a tool you will become a short story master. And you can even pick out the best ones and put them in the anthology. Also you don’t have to worry about background stuff for your short stories, because you have plethora of it already.