Aspiring author and random thinker

On Writing: Reading Short Stories

I have been reading a lot of short stories lately and finding most of them rather disappointing. I believe that writing short stories would feel far less fulfilling than working on novels, but it would be great practice.


5 responses to “On Writing: Reading Short Stories

  1. Ian Clements March 17, 2013 at 2:11 am

    It is a good way to find your voice, as I think that’s unlikely to change too drastically between a short story and a novel, but in some ways you’re exchanging one set of problems for another. Did I say problems? I meant challenges, of course. With short stories the pro…challenge is to figure out how much streamlining you can do of the world and its characters but still keep them rich enough for the reader. You’re going to be cutting out a lot of writing that you may love. You need to hint, insinuate and go for the telling detail ( that one little bit of mannerism or dialogue that can tell you more about a character than pages of description. Mastered that? Yeah, me neither ).

    Novels on the other hand; you can roam. You have a lot more leeway to build your characters, your plot, your..well..everything. Problem is roaming leads to getting lost as often as it does to productive writing. I’m trying to build a base with short stories so I have the assurance to tackle a novel, so it’s somewhat ironic that I’ve recently heard I have a better chance of getting a novel published than breaking into a respected genre fiction magazine.


    • thinkinglazy March 17, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Regarding the magazine publishing thing, I watched a few lectures by Brandon Sanderson -author of Mistborn – and he claimed that it is no longer a necessity to start a writing career by publishing short stories in magazines.


  2. averythorne March 17, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Short stories are a needle-in-a-haystack type business. For every good one you read you have to sift through 10 that are bad.


  3. subspace5000 March 24, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    “I believe that writing short stories would feel far less fulfilling than working on novels, but it would be great practice.”

    Incidentally, that’s pretty much my entire reason for writing short stories at the moment. Granted, this avoids several of the complexities involved in writing novels, but it’s a great way to improve my writing style.


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