2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

So Maybe There’s More to This Short Story Thing Than I Used to Think

I’m going wildly out of character these days, reading short stories left and right it seems… Actually, not left and right – left to right, which is how we read here in the western world (teehee) – it just seems that way because I’ve had short stories on the brain lately. I’ve treated short stories like the red-headed step-child for many years – and have even given them grief here on the blog. I really do prefer novels – the longer the better – always have, always will. But as I’ve been trying to actually write one, well, let’s just say that I’ve discovered that there’s a surprising amount of appeal in the whole short story thing…

See, it’s surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly, depending on who you are) difficult to write one hundred or one hundred and fifty thousand words on one theme or topic. Actually, it’s difficult to write that many words period. But it’s especially so on one theme or topic. Especially if you are me, and the proud possessor of a terrifically short attention span when it comes to working… Sigh. I’m not proud of this, believe me, but I am self-aware enough to see it and to know that it is an issue I have to learn to work around. So I’ve been trying to use short-story writing as a work-around.

It’s working alright I think. I have the makings of a couple of decent short story collections in the works, some of the components of which have been published on here, and an ever-growing number which have not. Granted, some of them are very short and probably not what an editor/publisher would consider a “story”. But by the same token, a few of them are probably most accurately considered novellas. So I guess my short story book – if one is ever actually completed and available – will be a weird compilation of oddly short and oddly long things, with a few that are just right in the middle. Teehee – my very own Goldilocks books, how proud my parents will be…

So you will probably see some more short story reviews on here going forward. I’ve had a few already, if you haven’t noticed, so this epiphany about the short story has been brewing for some time. I like seeing what other people have gotten published, not so much for topical ideas as for length and style and things like that – especially for insight into whether short story collections have to have a theme or unifying effect of their own. And I’m hoping to have some more short stories of my own for you to read, although I’m not sure about that since it’s a curious balancing act, trying to write things that I can share on the blog and also things to “save” for possible (hopeful, eventual, god-willing, should-the-world-end-and-I-actually-finish-something) publishing. 🙂

12 comments to So Maybe There’s More to This Short Story Thing Than I Used to Think

  • Sharon Franclemont

    Anxiously awaiting. 😀

  • I love writing short stories. I was once like you, I didn’t read short story collections. I loved thick novels and difficult texts. However, once I read one short story collection by Meg Cabot and some of my other fav authors, I love them. And I love writing them. I didn’t realize how many short stories I could write that interest me that I couldn’t write in novel form. They are fun, short and straight to the point. I’m glad I’m not the only one with a former problem with short stories, lol. 🙂


  • I use to be like you with short stories. I didn’t read them or write them for that matter. Yet once I read an anthology of short stories from my fav YA authors, I was hooked. Then I started considering writing short stories and even took creative writing courses about writing short stories. Haven’t stopped since and I’m going to write a collection of short stories and publish them soon. 🙂 Anyway, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one with short story problems, lol.


    • Thanks Larissa – I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one too! 🙂 As I said in response to Paul, for me the key really is the ability to engage me – to write characters and stories that pull me in and make me care. If an author can do that in a short-form version, so much the better – it’s nice to have the option of quicker reads. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment (twice – teehee)!

  • Hey, haven’t seen you for awhile. Is there a way I can get new post email notifications?

    Anyway, I like this post. Short stories have been on my mind recently, and actually, I think the e-book revolution may bring them back to the forefront. I love short stories, both reading and writing, and for hundreds of years, they were the big thing. But over the past few decades, mainstream publishing has kind of killed them off.

    I love that I can polish off a short story sometimes in the only 20-30 minutes I get to read just before falling asleep. And that I can read them when I want a break from whatever particularly long book I might be reading.

    And actually, while I work on my next novel, to try and keep the momentum going (with my three readers :), I am also putting together a short story collection.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

    • There is an RSS feed Paul, upper right corner labeled “Posts” with the RSS logo…

      Thanks for the comment! I really used to have a thing against short stories – intellectual snobbery, I guess, teehee – but as I have been writing more, I have found that I enjoy them more. My previous issue with them was largely that I don’t like half-developed characters or plots, which occasionally happens with short stories because they are, by definition, short. What I have found though, is that good authors can give you a short version of something without sacrificing the necessary detail to pull you into the story or the characters’ lives – and as long as I get those two things in a story, I don’t mind if it’s 5000 words instead of 500 pages…

      And since you’re working on them too, we’ll have to trade short stories! 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and the comment – take care!

      • Much thanks. Still kind of a dunce on a lot of these blogging things (and don’t even get me started on how little I know– and sometimes how little I care about how little I know– about Twitter 🙂

        You’ll have to remind me when you first thought you wanted to be a writer. For me, it’s been since my first attempt at college, or rather when I decided I didn’t want to major in Biology and dropped out (and as we are close in age, I’ll let you do the math). Back then, I didn’t have any novel-length ideas (or maybe the abilities yet to make them such), but I needed to be writing SOMETHING. So everything came out as short stories. It wasn’t until maybe ten years ago that I got my first novel idea (I actually included a little anecdote about this in my post this week), so I’ve always held a spot in my heart for the form.

        Hope you have a good rest of the weekend.

        Paul D. Dail
        http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

        • Oh yeah. The whole “dunce” comment was in regards to subscribing to your site via email. I believe the saying is along the lines of how it could’ve bit me, right? 🙂

          Paul D. Dail
          http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

        • Teehee – I hear you on dunces AND getting bitten, believe me!

          As for the writer thing, well, I did write “books” when I was in elementary school, with drawings by a friend, that we used to let kids in our class read, but it’s not like I was burning to write since then… (and yes, we are the same age bracket, so you know exactly how long ago that was!) As for “real” writer-ness, that came about when I was frustrated and annoyed at my “real” job as a government relations attorney at a pharmaceutical company – and even then, I didn’t so much know right away that I wanted to write as I knew right away that I didn’t want to do that anymore! I decided to write when I couldn’t figure out what else I wanted to do – I always thought one day I would/should/could write a book, and right then and there seemed as good a time as any…

          It’s not much of a “how I knew I wanted to write” story, as stories go, but it’s all I’ve got. 😉

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