Authors from Flannery O’Connor to Stephen King have all published works of short stories and there are countless compilations of short stories from specific authors to collections of works that were published here and there by various writers. Some people may miss these as a novel is a time commitment and there are many who like to take their time reading a book or will devour multiple novels throughout the year.
Yet, a short story, or collection of stories, may not fit together like a novel but are their own kind of magic that shouldn’t be overlooked. Short stories can be a few pages, or even a single page, or they could be the length of a long chapter in a novel, around twenty to fifty pages. However, despite their shorter length they pack a great deal into their story and many of the most moving and fun reads you can experience will be in the form of a short story.
It’s been said that you can’t waste time in a short story. Mind you, novels don’t waste time either, there is more room to meander in a novel whereas a short story requires you to be moving and building all the time. They also have to quickly capture you attention, they have to pull on your emotions in a powerful way, or they must be fast in the painting and building of their world.
Again, a lot of authors have collections of short stories, but there are great compilations where experts of the short story are showing their work. Some writers don’t have a lot of novels under their belt, or any at all, but they have produced a lot of shorter works that can be such enjoyable reads. Also, a lot of new writers or undiscovered talents will start out by submitting short stories to contests or publication specializing in short fiction. There are literary magazines, journals, and collections that abound in the literary world and you can find a lot of these at your local library to check out and explore short stories.
If you find you don’t have a lot of time to invest in a novel or just want to try a different kind of storytelling, ask about some great short story collections at your library or books store. I think you’ll find these quick tales are just as rich as many novels out there and will be a fast but great read.