At the 2011 World Horror Convention, I went to a panel called Why We Write Short Stories. I consider myself more of a “novelist” even though I’ve sold short stories and haven’t sold a novel yet. Author Guest of Honour, Joe Hill was on this panel as well as some other great short story writers. This was an interesting panel for me, and I thought I’d share what I learned there with you.
Suzanne Church, a Canadian author said it was a way for her to build a brand and said, “I want people to know my name.” This has been true for me. Being published in Evolve and Evolve 2 has led to many opportunities to do appearances, signings and readings, that I wouldn’t have yet if I’d only be focused on writing my novels. I now can call myself a published author! (I’m still working on the novelist part)
Brad Sinor said short stories are a great way to teach ourselves about making a deadline. He also said the longest distance for a writer is from the brain to the page, which I thought was a fantastic line. Just get it down, he told us. He also told us that Roger Zelazny would always write a short story about his main character to get to know them. I think that’s a great reason to write a short story, to improve your novel!
Joe Hill said for him, the short story form is the “great classroom.” He told us he spent three years writing an epic fantasy that didn’t sell, and then wrote short stories because he needed to learn the skills of writing (dialogue, etc) faster. If you haven’t read Joe Hill’s short stories I highly recommend them. They are incredible.
Do you have your own reasons for writing short stories?