Attack of the 50-foot Story….

Every month, I try to write at least one short story. Not only is it a way to get more of my stories out there for those of you who are brave enough to read them, but it also allows me to hone my skill in the art of short story writing.

And let me tell you, writing a short story, say under 5,000 words is vastly different than writing longer fiction. In my opinion, it is also much, much harder.

In a novel, you have time. You develop your characters, your plot line, and your atmosphere to slowly draw the readers into the world that you create. They can be enticed with the sights and experiences that you want to show them. A longer piece of fiction allows you to build the reality that you want the readers to see.

While novels and longer fiction allow you to create a new reality over time, a short story, at least a good short story forces you to take all that information that you have in a novel and condense it, prioritize it, and filter it to give the reader a snap shot of the world of your characters. In an instant, a writer of short stories needs to show the reader exactly what he should see to understand what is going on, and to infer, at his leisure any back story that might exist. There isn’t the luxury of drawn out narratives or waxing poetic. No, a short story only offers you the chance to record the vibrant and visceral present, with a few momentary glances into the past if you’re lucky.

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