If you are a student interested in writing as a career, writing an award winning tome on your first try is not likely going to happen. Okay, it happens sometimes through history. But the typical writer is going to have a harder time getting published. The easiest path for many authors to get started in professional writing is the short story.
What Is A Short Story?
Short stories are generally less complex than novels: they typically focus on a single incident, with a limited number of characters, in a single setting, and the action takes place over a short period of time. Often they start close to the action with little or no exposition and end just as abruptly, often with open endings. There are numerous categories and sub-categories of short story, based on genre and subject matter. For example, those that are used to illustrate a particular moral or ethical principle are categorized as Fables or Parables.
This is dependent on many factors, including the genre, needs of the story, and the market it’s aimed at. For example, if writing for submission to a specific magazine, the author will be bound by the magazine’s submission guidelines. Generally though, short stories are less than 10,000 words. Perhaps the best and most agreed-upon convention is that one “should be able to be read in a single sitting”.
History Of Short Stories
This used to be a very popular form in the 19th century because it was a staple of magazines, and there was strong demand for short fiction of between 3,000 and 15,000 words. These days popularity is very much on the wane, with few outlets. Nowadays they are most often published in anthologies, although some authors release collections of their own works.
How To Write A Short Story
Because short stories are shorter and less complex than novels, it’s tempting to think they are also easier to write. However, many regard short stories as the more difficult form because they call for precision writing where every word is important.