I've long heard over and over from readers and writers alike "I hate short stories... they're not long enough. They're not worth it. They don't make money. They leave you wanting more. Waste of time." And you know what? It makes me really sad. I LOVE short stories. Both as a reader AND a writer. Sometimes, I really want to quench my reading thirst - but I just don't have time to read a novel. Sometimes, I am really jonesing for a certain theme and find an anthology of short stories that is filled with stories on that theme. And sometimes, my favorite authors throw out a few short stories to fill the void between their next book. Whatever the reason is, I love it!
But as I writer - I love writing short stories! Here are few articles I've found that boil down the most basic reasons quite succinctly:
- Storyville: Why Write Short Stories At All
- 5 Ways Writing Short Stories Can Boost Your Writing Career
But for me, personally, it's a mixture of both of those articles. And I guess the biggest thing is this: I'm good at them. I don't say that in arrogance or to boast. I say that because you know when you're good at something, and you FEEL good doing it and when you finish, you have a sense of contentedness and accomplishment? It can be coloring or painting, singing or heck, cleaning the house! Whatever you're good at - you do it because you're good at it, you enjoy doing it and it fills you with a sense of joy.
That's writing short stories for me.
When I was a teenager and started to take writing seriously - I honestly didn't think I'd ever write short stories. I thought it was for MFA students who were "super prickly and stuffy" and for those who didn't have the "chops" to write a novel. But the truth is that writing short stories is actually a lot harder than people think. Which is another reason why I do it.
You have to do in a short story, what writers are allowed to do in a full length novel. All the elements still have to be there - a beginning, middle and end. A compelling first line. Three-dimensional characters. Conflict. Tension. Climax. It ALL needs to be in a short story and you don't have a lot of room to make all those things happen which is why if you can master the short story, you are actually strengthening your skills as a storyteller.
My short stories have always been challenges to me. To make my characters sharper, more distinct. To make the plot tight and all-encompassing. To make the depth of the story and character arcs enough within the timeframe allotted.
I have to be honest and say that some of my FAVORITE characters and stories have come from writing short stories. If I had never taken a chance on diving into my craft and taken the challenge of trying to write a short story, I wouldn't have come up with the stories that my readers love (despite them being short stories!).
I really do urge you to try reading a short story if you haven't (a few of mine are FREE and/or .99!). And if you're a writer - I urge you to try and challenge yourself with a short story. You might surprise yourself with how much you learn from the process!