Short stories are coming back into favour, now that digital publishing is on the rise. And more and more authors are producing really great fiction in short form. To celebrate this, I’ve written a short guide on why you should read short stories. Enjoy.
#1. Begone you fluff monster
Short stories are like a little novel wrapped up in as few words as possible without all the fluff. If you don’t want to read three pages of descriptive text showing how the wind is blowing through the leaves, and just want to get straight to the action – the GOOOOD stuff – then short stories are for you.
#2. You can finish the story in your lunch break
Have you ever been so engrossed in a novel that you just can’t put it down? Except that you’ve got that awesome blind date that your second cousin set up for you, in TEN minutes. But wait, what happens to Jimmy when he falls down that well? Is that a monster reaching through the water to grab him? Oh damn, your date’s here. If that was a short story you’d already know what happened.
#3. They cost less
Most short stories on Amazon cost around 0.99 cents. Super dooper cheap. You can even get some for free. Suck on that $12.99 novel!
#4. A writer needs to be great to write a good short story
You might think it’s easier to write a short story than to write a novel. No, not necessarily so Batman. Sure it takes much less time. But easier? You’ve still got to put plot twists in, build your characters, have a satisfying ending – in just 5,000 or so words. It’s difficult to write a good short story, so you need to know which bits stay in, and which bits end on the cutting room floor (or Recycle Bin – same diff).
#5. Fantasy Cyberpunk? I’m just not so sure …
Not sure if you’ll like a new genre and just want to dip your toe in the pool to sample? Then you can pick up a short story and see if you are into them or not. Why commit to a full 200 page novel when you can try out 20 or so pages first? Who knows, you might find that steam punk, paranormal dwarf stories are your thing after all.
#6. You get to read the series quicker
Sick of waiting for your favourite author to bring out her next novel. Sometimes they take years. If they write a short fiction series, then you might only be waiting a few weeks for the next one. Finally you’ll be able to find out if the monster gets out of the well, and escapes from nasty Jimmy.
#7. How many books did YOU read last year?
You’ll be able to brag to your friends that you read over 100 books last year. They’ll be so impressed, and think you are super smart. You don’t need to tell them that they were all under 10,000 words each do you?
#8. You can read short stories to your kids, and be back in time to find out who the Bachelor chose.
Okay, well maybe not MY stories since they aren’t suitable for the kiddiewinks, but many good short stories are just the perfect length to put little Sally off to slumber land with a happy ever after ending. Try doing that with a Harry Potter novel.
#9. It’s Movie Time!
Short stories and novellas are the perfect length for being made into a movie or television series. Most novels are too long and have to be dramatically cut to fit into the 1-1/2 hour movie length. Popular movies born from short stories include Brokeback Mountain and Fight Club. There is a reason that directors are scouring the Amazon bestsellers for good short stories – just recently independent author Hugh Howey got his excellent short story Wool optioned for a movie by Ridley Scott. Nice.
#10. You, as a reader, have more input
Have control issues? No, me either – cough cough. But if you really want your favourite author to explore a character or genre then they are more likely to say yes if they write a short story. Recently an author had a goat in one of her novels. Yes a goat. And one reader wanted to find out what happened to said goat. Thus a short story was born. Your wish is my command.
If you’ve got to the end of this article and are now dripping with desire to read my thriller short story collection – Urban Darkness – then click here to read more about it. Sweet!