For all you short story writers out there – and for all those who’ve “always meant to write one” – here’s your chance: 12-18 November marks National Short Story Week!
I’ve always loved reading short stories, but I’ve only recently started writing them myself. To be honest, I was always a bit intimidated by the idea of writing short stories. I love short story authors like Edith Wharton, Henry James, Vladimir Nabokov, Alice Munro and Helen Simpson. It’s one thing to enjoy reading those masters of the short story, but another to try penning them myself.
I actually began thinking about trying it myself when I read Stephen King’s excellent On Writing. By the way, you don’t have to be a Stephen King fan to get a lot out of this book. King suggests taking a pause after finishing a novel and putting it aside to make it appear fresh before returning to it for revisions. He suggested that it’s best to work on short stories for a while, before turning your attention back to the novel.
Once I began writing short stories, I really enjoyed it … and not only as a way to ‘ kill time’ between writing a novel and revising it. When you write longer works, it’s rewarding to be able to focus on a tiny slice of life. When you are used to writing novels of 90, 000 -100,000 words, a well-crafted story of 2,000 -3,000 words is a worthy challenge.
I’m so pleased to learn about a week dedicated to focusing on the short story – writing, reading, and listening. On the web site, there are links to short stories available on-line (both written and in audio formats), author interviews, a list of writing contests, and UK-based magazines and journals that accept short stories.
So, lots of resources for you fellow short story writer and readers to explore. Happy Short Story Week!