Why I Love Writing Short Fiction

short stories on an iPad

You may have noticed that one of the main things I post on my blog is short fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I blog about life and stuff throughout the week, too, but if you’ve looked around on my website you’ve probably found links to my fiction collection and my short stories. This is because short stories are what I enjoy writing the most. I love writing short fiction and I want my blog to be a good archive for my short stories over the years.

What’s So Great About Short Stories?

I think most people would probably wonder why I spend so much time writing short stories instead of trying to tackle that next great American novel. Another thing I don’t want you to assume is that I never attempt writing novels. I do, but so far I’ve not completed a novel, or even really came close. I think it’s because I enjoy exploring characters so much. I play with context and rewrite and rework so much because it’s actually FUN.

I like to think of short stories as moments. Yes, technically it’s a story. It should probably have something of a beginning, middle, and end, but you have much more leeway in exactly what that means and how you break those parts down in short stories. Once it’s finished, what you generally have, whether the plot spanned days or weeks or years, is a good moment of a thing that doesn’t take forever for someone to read and enjoy.

The fun continues after that, though, for me anyway. After some time, I will generally want to experiment with those characters some more. I may write another story about them, or I may take a story I already wrote and rewrite it. Sometimes I’ll just write about the character in another situation to see what happens. I’m not much of a plotter, so I never know how my stories will end when I start them. I’ll play around with context, with character motivation, or with details. Sometimes by rewriting like this, I “figure stuff out” that I didn’t understand about the characters or situation before, and then I’ll rewrite the story again.

Closure Seekers, Beware

Readers may not get the closure that they seek at the end of the stories, and if you’re really into closure, I wouldn’t recommend reading short stories, especially the literary style kind. For me, it’s never really about closure. It’s about the moment. You don’t get closure in life with everything, at least not in the moment. But, if you like character exploration that doesn’t take forever and a day to ingest, I’d say short stories are good thing to try reading (or writing.)

I think what it all boils down to is that I like writing short stories because they’re fun for me. I just figured I’d try to coerce some of you all into liking them, too. I know it’s not the most popular genre, but I just love writing short stories.

Check Out My Short Fiction

I share my short stories every Friday on my blog so that you can read some of my work for free. Check out the Free Stories section of my website.

If you’re interested in writing short stories, or if you like reading my short stories, you’ll probably also like to hear my thoughts on typos.

You can check out my fiction collection, Crushes, if you like my work. It’s a fiction collection with stories about characters from the south exploring their sexuality. It’s available on Amazon and is also available on Kindle.

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He's the author of the fiction collection, Crushes, and is a literary editor. He also works at a law firm and is writing his second book. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University.

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