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Are Short Stories Popular In 2019?

Short Stories Popular? You bet they are. They are loved by both veracious and non readers and allow the writer to hone his/her craft. Out attention is small – short stories fill the need.

There was a time when good writers could make an extraordinary income from short stories, and often even full-length novels were published piece-by-piece in major publications.

Times have changed, but are short stories popular still? This type of writing has had a slight lapse in popularity, but with today’s modern lifestyle short stories are becoming more important than ever.

Short Story Authors

While great novelists can write short stories and vice versa, confining a story to a limited number of words (normally under 7,500) and keeping the writing compelling takes a very special set of skills.

As a direct result of the limited word count, authors must make every sentence count. That makes for a more defined purpose for the story, and therefore a more precise delivery.

They must be attention-grabbing and have a satisfying conclusion, while still drawing readers to come back for more.

For the author with many ideas, it’s a great opportunity to turn out a number of stories and to see which ones perform well.

Writing many stories at a time is fantastic practice, and it hones important skills like developing characters and improving dialogue.

Short stories might bring in less money per piece, but the author is able to finish them much more quickly.

Many of the most famous authors started out writing short stories, or began writing after their major novels took off – George R.R. Martin, Annie Proulx, Stephen King, Roald Dahl and Jane Austen are just a very few names from an extremely long list.

Many writing courses also prefer writers to create short stories instead of excerpts from longer works.

Why Short Stories?

Short stories are a quick window into a world, and readers generally come in cold with little understanding of what to expect.

The author has a very short window in which to grab their attention, introduce them to the world, create a storyline, and finish in a way that leaves readers keen for the next story from that author.

Because of the format, authors can jump into wildly different worlds, without the concentrated effort of creating context and world-building that usually applies.

The same goes for characters – readers are devoid of expectations, allowing authors to create quirky, memorable characters with pared down dialogue that advances the story.

Short stories allow authors to push boundaries, and to trial ideas that would be difficult in a novel. Cliff-hangers are common, and the reader understands that they are just peering through a window to see a quick flash of a story, with the implied understanding of a whole other world to explore and consider long after the story is finished.

Practically, short stories are a quick escape, easy to finish in comparison to a full-length novel. Short stories are not only popular, they are ideally suited to modern readers.

Why Do Modern Readers Choose Short Stories?

Of course, full-length novels are a “safer” option. There isn’t as much pressure to perform as well in such a short space of time, and readers feel like they are getting their money’s worth.

Printed publications are declining, some of which were traditionally a source of short stories. However, short stories are still popular, and with modern times come modern reasons for readers to choose a shorter option. Here are some reasons why short stories are popular.

  • Readers are time poor. Modern readers are busier than ever, and many do not have the time and mental energy to commit to a full-length novel.

    If a story cannot be finished in a single sitting, it often gets put to the side in favour of more pressing obligations.

    Short stories perfectly meet the need of people who can squeeze in 30 minutes to read during their commute, before bed or at lunch time, and can find compelling stories to fill in that time.
  • Modern entertainment is fast-paced. As entertainment moves increasingly online, readers are becoming used to quickly and fluidly swapping between different types of media, or even using them at the same time – checking Facebook while watching Netflix, anyone?

    Short stories are often compared to a TV show, where novels are more like a movie.

    Each has their place, but for a reader looking for a quicker read that draws them in, short stories fill that need.
  • Modern short stories are portable. In the days of print, purchasing and carrying a single short story around was not efficient.

    Unless the story was a part of a larger publication like an anthology or a magazine, it wasn’t a practical choice over other books.

    With Kindles and other electronic reading devices and apps, short stories make even more sense.

    They are easy to load, offer a wide variety and are perfect to consume quickly.
  • Some genres are better short. Some types of story are better in a shorter form. Erotica, for example, almost always comes in the form of a short story. Short science fiction and fantasy works are also extremely popular, allowing readers a glimpse of new worlds and characters.

    Writers can tell the stories of many characters within a single place and time, or offer wildly different settings. Longer stories will always have their place, but certain genres are just better short.
  • Greater access to publications. These days, the internet has opened up the writing field to millions of potential readers.

    Of course, it’s a double-edged sword – with so much content available, it can be harder to attract readers. That being said, there are many, many more readers to attract.

    The internet has the ability to bring together people with common interests from across the world.

    While previously short story enthusiasts would need to target short story publications and specifically sign up, modern readers can browse new genres and styles to see which are a good fit.

    The many publications that offer short stories attract new and old readers, providing a wider audience than ever before.

American fiction (and short story) writer Lorrie Moore says, “A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage.

A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film.” There will always be beauty in all forms of writing, but is it true that modern times can continue to keep short stories popular? In this fast-paced age, it could be that this type of storytelling is more adapted to society than ever before.

Are short stories popular? You bet – YES!

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