On a couple of occasions, when I have mentioned that I am writing a novel, someone will say, “Oh, have you tried writing short stories?” Well yes, I have, but that doesn’t really mean anything.
A short story is not a miniature novel and writing short stories is not training for writing a novel. They are completely different forms. Just from my own reading and writing experience, it seems that novels are much more structured and plot driven than short stories, which often focus on a single turning point in a character’s life.
If you want to write short stories, you need to read them. There are a number of magazines that publish contemporary short fiction, Mslexia and Ambit are just two examples. On the Mslexia website you can read short stories in the New Writing section and on the Ambit website you can download a free issue. You can also read many short stories online at the New Yorker, including my absolute favourite short story, A Stone Woman by A. S. Byatt.