Inspiration Monday: The Craft of the Short Story

This month for Inspiration Monday, I'm bringing you an interview from Stephen King about the craft of writing short stories.

To me, Stephen King is a master of the short story. Often his novels can become bloated, filled with too many characters, and tangential plot lines that add nothing to the overall story. Don't get me wrong, I will pay for - and read - every last word of it, but there's a huge difference between a collection of his short stories, and something like The Stand (the one novel of his I have never finished reading.*)

I started out with short stories. I'm sure most people do. But somehow, over the past few decades, the idea has taken hold that you're not a writer until you've got a novel under your belt. Nobody buys short story collections from modern writers anymore (with the exception of Stephen King, and that's only because he's Stephen-effing-King), and I wonder if that's the reason why. I feel the short story has been devalued, relegated to middle school English classes, and I wonder if many writers shy away from them now because there's no big money in it.

Like there's big money in writing  a novel (for most of us).


I chose to go with this interview, because my goal for this month is to start working on expanding some of the short fictions I did for A to Z. I'm sure that many of you who stopped by to read them noticed that they weren't always (read: almost never) complete stories. They were ideas that intrigued me, but in the interest of space, time, and - to be honest - a bit of anxiety, I never got around to fully exploring them. Last month for Inspiration Monday, I said that I planned to get some of them together and self publish a collection. Fingers crossed that I don't screw it up too badly.

How do you all feel about short stories, both reading and writing them?

*I came along too late to read the original, abridged version of The Stand, which my mother tells me was much easier to get through.

Comments

  1. I'm so glad you're expanding some of them; I really enjoyed reading your work. A to Z was the first time I really wrote any shorts, although I do enjoy reading them. As far as publishing them goes- have you ever thought of entering them into literary journal type of contests? They're a great place to submit and read short stories. I just submitted one of mine on Friday.

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  2. I'm writing some short stories for my dissertation, and I love it. I think you can add a lot of depth to them, and some great characters :)

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  3. I write shorts. Love them--oh and Stephen King too.

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