I love to read short stories. I just love that in a small space of time I can live a different life and then move on to the next life and live there for a time. I think most of us writers start out writing short stories. It’s an easy way to take on the task of creating something from nothing.
Novels are this huge endeavor, a journey that will be long and trying. But a short story just sounds so much easier than taking on a novel. And of course it is. Short stories don’t need all the background information that a novel does. In a short story often less is more. So as a new comer to the craft we think, “Oh this will be easy. I can write a short story.” And maybe that first was is easy. I remember my first short story, I wrote it in just a few hours at my kitchen table by hand on a yellow pad of paper. I was about twenty years old and up until then all I had ever written was poetry. Though I did have a knack for essays, but essays and poetry are not short stories. My story was only three pages long, very dark and gritty. It had some good bits. But I quickly learned that I sucked at description and my dialogs was lacking in realism. But it was a good first attempt. I kept working on it and it got better, not great but better.
Short stories are easier than a novel but they have their own challenges. The best advice I ever got was, don’t tell, show it. It made a huge difference in my writing. And also changed the way I read. When I read a new book, I read it as a reader for the joy of it. I re-read it as a writer and I look at it with a critical eye.
As you can tell from my tag line I’m a Stephen King fan and I read his book On Writing. I’ve read lots of books on the art of writing over the years but King’s stated it in simple terms. Basically write because you want too because you have too. Keep writing every day. It’s a skill that needs to be refined, honed and polished. And keep reading. I don’t know a single writer that isn’t a reader.
So yeah I write short stories none that are published… yet (dare I say.) And with each story I try to push myself as a writer and make it that much better than the last. I’m sure that’s what all of us writers are trying to do, get better so we can realize that dream of becoming a published author. Yeah that would be so freakin’ awesome.
I’m thinking of self publishing through Amazon at some time when I have enough short stories that I can put together. And now that I have finally found my genre, horror, I feel that I can focus on that and get the content together. Though I have no idea when this will happen but I like to think about it. I find that life often gets in the way. But when you really want something you have to make the time for it. I am still working on that part. Aren’t we all?
Why do I love to read short stories? For one it’s a great way to try out a new author and see if their style is something I can get into. I love Anthologies for this reason. I’ve collected a few over the years. And not just in the horror genre. I’ve saved some of the ones I had for English classes I took in college. Wish I would have saved more of them. But every once in a while I’ll come across a collection of short stories and just have to get it, even if there is only one author that I recognize on the cover.
The short story I think kind of takes a back seat for the most part. I have often been asked if I will ever write a novel. And I would love too but I’m not really there yet, but I am on my way. Each story is getting longer and my skill set is growing. I can see the improvements I’ve made and spot the areas that still need to be worked on. I love seeing how far I’ve come. Thought I’m not looking too far back because… yikes.
To wrap things up short stories are great to read them and write them. They pack a big punch in less. They are just as in depth in description, atmosphere, and emotion as a novel. No reason to discount them or see them as less than a novel.