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.
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!