“Lots of short stories are actually the first chapters of novels.”

—Pat Barker

Photo: Bloemfontein Courant

A nice observation on short stories by a contemporary British novelist.

It says something about the lure of short stories, that readers are often left wanting more. Even a short story leaves readers invested in their characters, and sometimes wanting to follow them on a longer journey.

I suppose that a short story could often serve as a compelling first chapter to a novel, but I suspect many short story writers choose to capture only a slice of life, and do not necessarily want to explore the topic within a full-length novel. But other authors may appreciate the call to revisit a beloved character, and look forward to a deeper exploration of the character they originally created for a short story.

Personally, I love both novels and short stories, but see them as very different products – and like the idea that a short story lives a life of its own. Readers and writers, what do you think?