The Satisfaction of an Ending

Have you ever wondered why writers with the ability to craft complex novels choose to write the occasional short story? 

New authors sometimes begin with short stories and work their way up to full-length novels. But why do accomplished authors take time out of their busy book-writing schedules to knock out a short story?

It is unlikely to be a big earner or attract a great deal of attention. So what’s the point?

Photo by Ann H on

Well, with many authors rethinking their works-in-progress to be more relevant to a post-Covid19 world, there are fewer novels actually being finished right now. You know that feeling you get when you finish reading a good book? That’s the feeling authors get when they write an ending.

In challenging times, when motivation is scarce and everything we write has to be questioned and revised, being able to actually finish something feels like a rare gift. Switching to a short story is making a lot of sense to me right now.

There are other reasons for authors to write short stories, too. After completing a first draft, it is a good idea to wait a while before revising and editing. This allows the author to approach it with fresh eyes. Writing a short story during this time is an opportunity to do something different without jeopardising the timescales of the main project.

And of course, sometimes a great idea comes along that is just right for a shorter piece.

“Being able to actually finish something feels like a rare gift.”

From a reader’s perspective, there are many benefits to short stories, too. They are the obvious choice for anyone struggling to fit reading into limited free time.

Anthologies – or collections of stories – provide the opportunity to try out different genres, themes or even authors in one book, in the almost certain knowledge you are bound to like something.

Short stories are also fantastic for reading aloud. If you read to someone else, or share reading with someone, short stories are brief enough to finish in one sitting.

Have you read any good short stories lately?

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