Many fiction writers begin learning to write through short stories. Some, like myself, never even tried to write a short story because they can actually be much more difficult to write than a longer piece of fiction.
In a full length novel you have time to delve into the plot, time to build suspense, or to make things more complicated. You have the time to reveal your characters slowly, and to show how they learn, grow and develop into better people.
But in a short story, you don’t have that time. You need to show who your characters are in one, maybe two short scenes, and then you only have a few more to show how they change and grow. Or maybe you save that for a revelation at the end, like in the beautiful Christmas story (and one of my all-time favorite short stories), The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. The character growth isn’t even on the page, but only in the a-ha moment in the reader’s head after the story is finished.
With so many writers now taking part in anthologies where many authors’ works are published together, a number of writers who would have only written full-lenth novels, are now forced to write short stories. There is, of course, a trick to it (which I expand upon in this blog post, if you’re interested). I have to admit, I’m one of those writers.
I had never written a short story in my life until I was asked to contribute to an anthology of horror and paranormal stories. It was a challenge that turned me into a writer of short stories. Yes, after writing that first one, In A Beginning, I was hooked!
I now write short stories all the time! I publish a part of one every month in my newsletter, I include them in anthologies, and I recently published a box set of the first two novels of my Merry Men Quartet with a bonus prequel short story showing how the parents of the hero from An Exotic Heir met and fell in love. Early in the new year, I’m going to set my mind to doing the same thing for the parents of the heroine of The Merry Marquis to include in a box set of the second two books of the quartet.
The point is, writing short stories can be challenging and fun. Reading them should give you a complete story, a snapshot of a character and a satisfying read in under an hour or so – depending on how fast you read.
With the holidays upon us, and so little time to indulge in quiet reading, a short story is just what you need for a little escape. If you’re interested in slipping away for a little bit, write to me and I’ll send you a free short story, or you can sign up for my newsletter and get one delivered to your inbox every month. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of my box set, which is on sale just for the holidays.
And, finally, I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!