Short Stories – Time for a comeback?
Short stories often get short shrift. Why is that? The short form, often more difficult to write, is a wonderful format to learn the craft of writing. Film makers love them. Many short stories become movies, but readers, for some reason, have not embraced this format, preferring to indulge their love of story in novels.
Much of today’s book world revolves around the celebrated novel or the latest nonfiction bestseller, but it wasn’t always so. That’s why it’s great that this year’s Armchair BEA has promoted the short form as a topic of discussion. Why did so many celebrated writers of the past toil away creating wonderful short stories? Why were short stories once devoured during their fabled Golden Age? Maybe it’s time to give them another look.
Short works have always captured my attention. I read them for many reasons. Obviously, they are perfect when you don’t have a lot of time, but they also provide a unique and complete reading experience that can easily occur in one sitting. Many of my favorite writers, like Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allan Poe, were masters of the short story. My favorite annual anthology series of short works has to be The Best American Series. As a reader, anthologies provide me with a wonderful way to find new writers. Most of all, I read short stories because of what they are, small, unique gems.
Short stories reading challenge
If you love short stories and novellas or other short works, the Short Works Challenge might interest you. It’s a challenge that I created in the hope of finding others who appreciate the form. You can stick with the minimum of ten short works over five years or be a bit more aggressive. It’s up to you.
The Short Works Reading Group (#shortworksgroup) is to inspire and motive those writers and readers who, like me, love to read and discuss short stories, essays, and even short novels or novellas. Both fiction and non-fiction reading is encouraged. I’ve loved short works ever since, as a child, I read Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Tell-Tale Heart and believe the short forms have a lot to offer.
The idea is to remember the short form and include those works into your reading plan, and then share your thoughts through writing reviews on blogs or other review sites. In addition to checking out the reading challenge, you can also see my Short Works Reading Plan. I hope you’ll consider signing up. (There’s a Mr. Linky where you can sign up and announce your interest.) It’s always nice to have company on the journey.
Expanding your horizons
Reading short stories is a great way to expand your horizons with new writers, new ideas, and new forms. That’s part of the excitement the form generates. I don’t know about you, but I like to go outside my comfort zone. That’s how I ended up as a blogger. I had been writing for a number of years, following the traditional writer’s path through short stories, essays, and novels into traditional publishing, when this new thing called a blog appeared. Blogging allows me to develop and clarify ideas, share my thoughts on writing, and talk about books. Like all forms, it has its own nature to uncover and explore. Unlike many, it continues to evolve.
Reading the future
I know I”ll continue to blog because it’s a perfect publishing platform for me. I’ve recently made the move into the exploding Kindle revolution and have been learning all its ins and out. I even re-published a short story of mine. Since its first publication back in 1989, the poor thing has been nestled dormant in a hard drive. Now ROSEBUD, my first published short story, lives again as a short e-book. That’s pretty exciting. You can also find some of my traditional and new digital books here. I’m as eclectic in my writing as I am in my reading.
When it comes to a new and improved blog, there’s a lot to explore. I’ll continue to talk books and writing but I may try my hand at vlogging (video), too. How about you? How are you expanding your horizons or going outside your comfort zone? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts.