was never into writing short stories. My natural inclination was always to go
long, not short. I didn’t much like reading short stories, either. What was the
point? You just started reading it and it was over. I preferred novels,
something I could settle into for a few days or weeks, characters I could spend
time with, get to know and care about.
I started taking writing workshops, many of which involved reading short
stories. Lots and lots of short stories. Mystery. Fantasy. Science Fiction.
Literary. You name it, I read it.
slowly, almost without noticing, I learned to like the form. Maybe it was a
reflection of how busy my life had gotten, but I started to appreciate that I
could get a complete story in 5000 to 7000 words. That only took an hour or so
to read. I no longer had long swaths of time to dedicate to reading novels but with
a short story, I could get my reading fix and find out what happened, all in the
was appealing to me. So it was only natural that I would decide to explore the
short story form as a writer. I mentioned the 5000 to 7000 words, right? It wasn’t like I
had to come up with 90,000 words, for Pete’s sake. How hard could it be?
hard, it turns out.
I discovered that I could tell a lot of stories in the short story form that
just wouldn’t work for a novel. Most of my short stories go longer rather than
shorter, and I do have a few novellas and novelettes, but I’m glad I got over
myself. Now I have another vehicle for my stories.
I’ve decided to go one step further and start collecting some of my short
stories. My first collection came out last month: Night Shift: A Mystery Collection features four of my short
stories, two of which are set in my Mendenhall Mysteries series, and one
you’re a writer, have you tried short stories? What about readers? Do you
prefer the novel length or the short story length, and why?