Why Short Stories?
Up until about a year ago I was not a big fan of short stories. Why? I didn’t want to start a story, and just when I was getting into it, it ended. I love reading novels that slowly unfold, that gradually build, delve into the characters and their journeys. That seems completely counter to short stories.
But about a year ago, I started reading a collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami, in the original Japanese. At the time, I chose short stories because I wasn’t ready to try and read an entire novel in Japanese. Then something happened. The stories captivated me. I was amazed what he was able to accomplish in 10-20 pages. I thought they would be rushed and superficial. It was just the opposite. They never felt rushed. I immediately jumped into the story and didn’t want to put it down. The dialogue was captivating and the story unfolded quickly. When they ended, I felt oddly satisfied, and in the case of all of Murakami’s work, occasionally confused.
After that, I listened to Neil Gaiman talk about the joy of writing short stories. Murakami said the same thing. Since then I’ve picked up collections of short stories by Anton Chekhov and Fyodor Dostoevsky, two masters of the craft. Short stories are immediately approachable. If you want to take a break from a full length novel, open up a short story and you can read it half an hour or so.
As a writer I often find that I have ideas, but often they don’t have enough to them to base a full novel upon – at least for me. But they’re fun to write and it allows me a chance to pursue topics or styles that I typically wouldn’t. Also, I found that some of Murakami’s short stories eventually became novels. He used the short story format to test out ideas, develop a bit of the story, and then later expanded on them. In fact, the 2022 Oscar winning movie, Drive My Car, was based on a short story by Murakami.
So, if you’re interested, provide your email address and a link will appear where you can download a PDF copy. Don’t worry, I won’t sell your address to anyone else. I hope you enjoy. As always, let me know what you think.