As writers we are always being told that no-one wants to publish short stories these days, unless you are an already established writer. There is supposedly no demand for them. In the next breath we are told that short stories are a good way to hone your writing skills. The limited length focuses the mind on what is important and encourages the writer to include only what is necessary to further the tale – all attributes of a good novel too.
At one time there were many magazines that welcomed short stories but not any more. There are, however, a vast number of short story competitions available which offer publication for the winners either in a magazine or a special competition booklet. Many of these competitions are advertised in such periodicals as Writing Magazine and Writer’s Forum amongst others. But what can writers do with their short stories if they don’t achieve publication this way or write stories that do not suit the competitions in question?
Well, I’m not convinced that there is no demand for short stories. Personally I enjoy reading them. If you only have a few minutes available a short story often fills the bill, you can read the whole thing in one sitting without having to try to tear yourself away from the text in order to get on with something more pressing. When reading a full length novel there is always the problem of thinking you’ll just take a peep at the next chapter, read the next page…and the next…and the next…
One option available to writers of short stories is to publish their own as e-books. These days it is relatively simple to produce a book on Kindle and there are some excellently written self-published books out there so I thought I would share with you some e-books of short stories that I have enjoyed in recent months, all available from Amazon.
CIRCLE SPINNER and other tales: by Elizabeth Baxter
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read fantasy. Elizabeth Baxter is a wonderful writer of fantasy and this collection of short stories is second to none. Each tale leaves you wishing for more. This is a must read collection for anyone who loves this genre.
THE RUSALKA RITUAL: by Freya Pickard
Yet more fantasy. This collection of stories tells some further adventures of Dracomagan, Freya’s feisty heroine from her novel Dragonscale Leggings. It helps to have read the novel first (which I thoroughly recommend and is available in both paperback and now as an e-book from Amazon) but this is by no means essential.
Then just to prove that I don’t only read fantasy here are two books of modern, true life short stories by my fellow writer’s group member Jenny Roman. These are haunting, but ultimately uplifting stories of life, loss, love death and family.
THE CAMEL IN THE GARDEN – three short stories about loss, love and family. Three wonderful life-affirming stories all of which were originally published in magazines.
BEYOND WORDS contains twelve stories about love, death and deception. These have all either won, placed or been highly commended in a variety of competitions. There is a list of the where and when of these competition successes in the back of the book. It is Jenny’s hope that it will help to give others some idea of what makes a successful short story.
This list is of course not exclusive and there are many other wonderful short story collections out there. Maybe you have some recommendations of your own. Meanwhile I hope you check out and enjoy some of these. If you wish to know more about the writers and their books just click on their names above.