10.18.2016

Why I Write Short Stories


I could list several reasons why writing short stories are beneficial to writers. Practicing your craft, immediate gratification, and flexibility to name a few. And yes, all of those reasons are marvelous. I highly encourage authors to write short pieces.

But this is why I write short stories.

I want to escape into worlds I've never explored before. Some of them are awe-inspiring. The only science-fiction I've written has been in short form. I love strange planets, exotic aliens, and futuristic technology. I can play among the stars.

Some worlds are beautiful and happy. The perfect societies. What would life be like in a place where we had no environmental or political issues? What kind of problems would my protagonist have when all her family loves her? I love finding the flaws in what seems perfect and diving into hidden cracks.

Other worlds are horrifying. More than what goes bump in the night. What motivates that monster, if it really is a monster at all. Maybe it's fighting against something much more frightening. The tight suspense and hair raising terror. I love to scare myself.

I've written western, sci-fi, horror, steampunk, romance, sword & sorcery, mystery, and fairy tale retellings. I get to jump into these magnificent worlds and hop back out again. There's no limit on the places I can go in my stories, and through short stories, I can go to hundreds of them.

If you're an author, have you written any short stories? If you're a reader, do you read short stories?


26 comments:

  1. I do indeed read short stories. And, as a dabbler rather than a writer, my writing has fallen into the extreeeemly short category.
    Despite my efforts, short stories are no sinecure. Very limited space, so every word has to count.

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    1. It's tough to make every word count. It's taken me a long time to learn how to do it.

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  2. Hi Christine - I haven't written short stories ... I'm sure I could, but no I don't! I admire writers who draft and finish their stories: short or long ... and it must satisfy your craft as each is finished. Good luck ... cheers Hilary

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  3. I have written quite a few short stories. Beyond practicing craft, I enjoy the fact of jumping between worlds or characters within a world. I don't write quite as many short stories as I used to, but they can be a great way to get a snapshot of a world.

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    1. Totally! I'm going to attempt to write one a month next year. Even if it's just a word sprint exercise.

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  4. I like shorts but they're a hard sell in the marketplace. Readers tend to want novels. I think many associate short stories with the dry literature they read in school. Standalone shorts set in an established fantasy or science fiction world may be the way to go.

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    1. I agree, Jeff. There are collections and ezines out there, but I don't think they get as many readers as novels.

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  5. I'm trying to get better at them. I enjoy them. Arthur C. Clark's shorts inspired me for a lifetime.

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    1. I'm always trying to improve. My local critique group focuses on them and has taught me a lot.

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  6. I like writing short stories. Like you, I have written quite a few of them, and some in the genres I never touched in my novels, like magic realism or sci-fi. I love the briefness and the need to count words. Those limitations help me focus.

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    1. Yes, me too! It is the limitations that give me great focus that I need to learn to carry over to writing longer works.

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  7. Love short stories. Time is so limited anymore that it's nice to pick up something that'll only take me a day or two to read! I've even written a few myself, but that was years ago. Now that art is my focus, I've actually been tempted to do some shorts in comic form. Just have to figure out which of my ideas would work with that length, LOL.

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    1. You are a masterful storyteller. I can't wait to read more from you!

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  8. I've written a few short stories and I love writing flash fiction. Lately, I read shorter works more than novels. It's because of time limits and I can read a novella or short story and still have time in my day left.

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    1. You're great with flash. I'm still working on that form.

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  9. I enjoy reading short stories, but the only ones I've written are for Chicken Soup for the Soul books. They're fun, but must be true stories.

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    1. Good for you! Non-fiction scares me a little. It's easier for me to make things up! :)

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  10. My bread and butter for the longest time have been short stories and flash fiction. I honestly think it's primarily just because of how my brain works. So much so I'm amazed with how focused I've been on an actual book w/ chapters recently. haha

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    1. That's awesome! Good luck with the book. The authors in my local critique group focus solely on short stories. I've learned a lot from them.

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  11. Short stories are perfect for modern times with everyone so busy and only looking to occupy themselves for short spans of time. I'd love to write more short stories and novellas--faster gratification for a writer!

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    1. How true! And I want more of your stories. :)

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  12. I started out writing flash fiction, which was fun. I love your post Christine and agree with writing short stories!

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  13. Yes, I've written short stories, mostly for our collections! I actually find it easier to write an entire novel. That said, my stories usually turn out well, and I'm very pleased that I can create these little gems. They do serve as a great intro to an author's work.

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