Why Do Writers Write Short Stories?

Why do writers write short stories?

Because it’s a creative itch they just have to scratch? Because they have something they want to say? Because they want to entertain? See their name in print?

Yes, but why short stories?

Some simply love the genre. It’s a special skill, a particular art, and discipline.

But some have their eye on a different prize….

Writing to improve as a writer

I would bet that at least 50% of short story writers actually harbour the secret dream of writing novels. Finding an agent. Being offered a publishing deal. Becoming a familiar name on the best sellers lists.

And they see writing short stories as a sort of training ground. Writing, submitting, gaining confidence from success, honing their craft and exercising the writing muscle with every manuscript. Perhaps progressing to longer stories, serials, pocket novels…

We recognise all of this. It’s a natural evolution.

Progressing to becoming a novelist

And we are, happily, used to our excellent short story writers dropping off our radar as they concentrate on “the novel”. I won’t name names as examples because I’m bound to forget and thus offend someone!

The latest is regular “Friend” contributor Wendy Clarke, who’s just announced that she’s stepping back from short stories for a bit. And while we will miss her regular contributions, we wish her only success. She’s a smashing writer.

But there’s an old Scottish saying: It’s no loss what a friend gets. And that applies here.

Wendy’s focus on her novel, as with so many others before her, creates gaps. And how do we fill those gaps? By giving brand new writers their chance.

New writers welcome at the “Friend”

It’s one of the many reasons we’ve maintained our open-door policy for unsolicited manuscripts. It’s why we do our best to offer as much constructive criticism as we reasonably can.

It’s a bit like school. Only by the sixth form graduating and moving on with their careers is there space for the young ‘uns to come in and get started on the first year.

I say it often: every single one of our short story writers started out in the unsolicited pile. It’s a treasure trove. It’s no loss what a “Friend” gets…

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Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.