Long seen as the poor relation to the novel, short stories are back in vogue, and with good reason. The turnabout probably came, back in 2013 when Lynda Davis won The Man Booker prize for her collection of short stories. That coupled with the launch of Amazons ‘singles’ – (works of between 5,000 – 30,000 words) have spurred on its success. Since then the short story has grown in popularity, going from strength to strength.
The world today provides a perfect landscape for the short story to flourish. We are all so busy these days. By trying to navigate and juggle our frenetic lives, our time gets consumed by all things electronic. This is both good and bad. It is within this world that the revival of the short story is showing its metal. The reading of a short story can be achieved on the commute to work, say on your phone or tablet in one sitting – it’s a perfect medium and fits well into that time and place. I personally love the short story form form. As a writer, it helps me to stay sharp and focused. Somehow it seems to drive my creativity for my longer novels if that makes sense? By losing myself for a couple of hours writing a short story, I return to my larger work refreshed and fully charged. Writing a short means I have to be bold, be bright and be gone. No waffle just straight in feet first. Less is definitely more with a short and therein lies my love of writing them. It appears I am in good company!
The short story has its roots buried deep within our culture. Dickens, known for creating some of our best loved fictional characters was a prolific short story writer. His success began with the serialization of The Pickwick Papers. His novels were mostly published in weekly or monthly installments, a sort of short story for the times.
I have recently had some successes with my short stories. They have woven their way into a variety of longlists and this month saw my first short list addition! …. Fingers crossed.
With my second novel well into the ‘red marker’ editing phase (or slash and burn as I call it), I have set my sights on my next piece of work – a collection of short stories. They will be my toughest challenge yet but I’m game if you are?