Sunday, October 18


Aren't short stories considered the poor relation of the novel?

I recently saw this question/statement online and decided to address it on my blog.

Some authors think that creating short stories is actually more difficult than writing full length books. It can prove to be very challenging to tell a story in 1,000 to 7,500 words. In the not too distant past it was also quite expensive, so short fiction was generally thought of as “literary.”

Printing costs meant that short works were pricy to produce, so they were usually limited to art and literary magazines. EBooks have now opened the market to all genres of fictional works and found a whole new of wealth of readers who have a variety of choices. Because of today’s time restraints on our lives, short stories and quick reads are becoming increasingly popular and demand is driving the market to new highs. 

The average adult reads approximately 300 words a minute, so a short story doesn’t require much of a time commitment. This has proven to be a big plus in encouraging reading in those persons who for various reasons aren’t big fans of the written word. As a bonus, many people who start by reading short stories find they like the personal connection with the characters they get from a book and move on to tackle larger works.   

Quick reads are the same as conventional books, with the exception that they are shorter and easier for today’s busy adults to finish. They have also made a big difference to people who avoid a novel with hundreds of pages because they either don’t want to invest the time or they feel intimidated by the length—all those words to plow through before they find out “who done it”!

I believe there’s plenty of room for all books no matter the genre or word count. I read novels in the evening, but a downloaded short story or quick read on my iPhone Kindle app makes waiting times at the doctor and dentists much less painful.

Which do you prefer to read—novels or short stories?