I’m writing short stories, and I love it.
Honestly, I’ve struggled to finish a novel over 50,000 words. This story will sound familiar to anyone who has been in my shoes. You get a good idea, develop some characters, and write a few chapters. But then… something happens. Maybe your ideas don’t translate well on page. Or the words don’t click. Suddenly, that epic you conjured in your head is no longer worth the time nor stress.
So, in predictable fashion, you give up. Procrastination is a huge hurdle for anyone- and writers are not immune.
Then comes writing short stories and novellas. Think of H.P Lovecraft, or Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, etc. Short stories- with minimal words- are tasked with creating a story that will resonate with reachers. The short story format looks limiting, but I think writers would be surprised at how much they can do with up to 25,000 words. Alot of novels- even the ones I love- can feel like they stretch a small premise into a full-length work.
This is a problem I have with commercial fiction aimed at women, but that’s a discussion for another time. In general, novels use alot of their works by extra description and subplots. One of the reasons why I love Animal Farm by George Orwell is that it’s sharp and to the point. Not a single word is wasted. This is because when you write short stories, you see the value of every word.
Now, writing novels may the perfect goal for you as a writer. And I can see why- some stories work well with the long format. You may have ideas of multiple plotlines. That’s totally okay- I’m not arguing that writing short stories is better than writing novels, but for me, I think I prefer writing short stories.
Often, authors describe writing a novel as a ‘marathon.’ That sort of implies short stories are like a sprint. I guess the question is: Are you a sprinter or a marathon runner? I think I’m a sprinter, at least in this stage of my life.
What puts alot of people off short stories is the lack of commercial gravitas. There aren’t as many book awards, either. And that’s true, and something for people to consider. I personally think writing short stories teach you alot about communication and language. There are plenty of jobs or side hustles that would benefit from those skills.
In conclusion, I will focus more on my short stories. Ever since I posted “Heaven or Hell” (feel free to read!) I’ve been inspired to write more short stories. Taking a creative writing class has also helped me. Because of that, I will be reading more short stories.
Always wanted to read some of Stephen King’s short storys and novellas.