It is a much discussed topic in the publishing circles– the rise of the short story. The short story, usually thought to be a poor cousin of the full length novel, was thrown into the spotlight by announcement of two literary prizes. First it was short story writer Lydia Davis (she has written stories that are only a sentence long), who won the Man Booker International Prize, 2013. This was followed by the triumph of Alice Munro, who won the Nobel Prize in 2013.
With the short story finally getting its due recognition, there are good reasons for writers, including children’s writers to have a go at this genre.
As per the figures in ‘The Bookseller’, the sales of short stories increased by 35 percent in 2013. According to the novelist Elizabeth Day, “Life is increasingly hectic and many people struggle to find the time to engage with a full-length novel. A short story offers the perfect antidote – it’s the equivalent of listening to a single track of music instead of the whole album.”
Fun to Write
The energy for writing a story is the greatest when a writer begins the task. While a full length novel involves plenty of sweat, false turns and writer’s blocks; with a short story you are done before the enthusiasm begins to flag.
Since a short story is quick to write and quicker to read, it is easy to get immediate feedback. And lots of feedback! Which is great when you are experimenting with a new genre and trying to figure out what works and what does not. In effect, a short story becomes a great tool for improving your writing and stimulating your other writing.
Trying out the New
A short story is an opportunity to experiment with different writing styles and genres. A full length novel simply does not afford the writer the same flexibility for obvious reasons. Which is why the best minds in the business have often written short stories while continuing while being career novelists. A short story that works can often lead the writer to bigger and better things.
So while you are busy with completing and polishing your cherished manuscript, it is a good idea to take the time out to try your hand at something new. A short story maybe?