Short Stuff

On a couple of occasions, when I have mentioned that I am writing a novel, someone will say, “Oh, have you tried writing short stories?” Well yes, I have, but that doesn’t really mean anything.

A short story is not a miniature novel and writing short stories is not training for writing a novel. They are completely different forms. Just from my own reading and writing experience, it seems that novels are much more structured and plot driven than short stories, which often focus on a single turning point in a character’s life.

If you want to write short stories, you need to  read them. There are a number of magazines that publish contemporary short fiction, Mslexia and Ambit are just two examples. On the Mslexia website you can read short stories in the New Writing section and on the Ambit website you can download a free issue. You can also read many short stories online at the New Yorker, including my absolute favourite short story, A Stone Woman by A. S. Byatt.

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2 thoughts on “Short Stuff

  1. Absolutely. I’ve had 4 short stories published, but writing a novel was like starting over as a writer for me. There are more differences than I can count. Not only structure, but the level of detail provided.

  2. They are two distinct beasts. I like the story story because it gives me a break from the big hairy gorilla (my novel), as does a blog post. My voice and that wretched muse of mine can flrit and dance around taunting me until dragging me back. Until then, I have time to explore and bring back fresh prespective and a new me.

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