Monday, January 24, 2011

No one likes Short Stories!

I would first like to say that I love short stories. I've read almost all the stories by Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, etc....

But for the past year or so, I finally started to notice that not many people read short stories. Of course it should have been obvious to me sooner. Most of the books in libraries and bookstores have been novels. I guess I was just blind.

But I really do love short stories, and I don't understand why they aren't more in demand. When you walk down the street or drive in your car, you see all those people rushing to their destinations. Life seems so busy. You'd think more people would prefer to read something that takes up less of their time.

But here's the truth:
Not many people like short stories.

So I asked the all knowing (yet sometimes misleading) internet on why this is. And this is what the people of the internet had to say:

Reasons why people LIKE short stories:

-Novels are too long

-I'm too busy

Reasons why people DON'T LIKE short stories:

-Loves to see how a character will develop in a novel

-Novels have more complex plotting

-I can curl up with a novel and read for hours

-Short Stories are too short. They leave me feeling unsatisfied

-Novels are a great way to escape from the world

-I like to touch Harry Potter's face on the cover of Rowling's novels


These are just some of the reasons why people prefer novels over short stories. I guess I can see their point. But it doesn't mean that I have to like it.

Anyway, thank you all for reading my rant about the dying art of short stories. But before you go, I would like you to answer two important questions in the comments below:

1) What would you rather read? Short Stories or Novels?

2) Think of your favorite author. If he or she wrote a short story, would you read it?

(In my research, I noticed that some people will read a short story by their favorite authors, even if they don't like reading short stories in general)

Thank you for your answers!

John Smith

P.S. - I'm at the library, and someone's phone started to ring. It played a song from "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog". ...Awesome!


  1. I do prefer to read novels because you get to conncect with the characters more. It just feels more fulfilling and I can make the time to read. I did read a couple of Stephen King's short stories but I definitely prefer novels. I can appreciate that is is tough to write a short story. A lot of things to consider for such a short format. Happy writing!

  2. It depends. Online I tend to lean towards short stories. On the longer the piece is the less enticing it seems because I have to read it on my computer and I'm not a fan of reading on my computer really long things. However, I usually read novels in paper format.

    I have read short stories for class before. My sci-fi lit class required reading was a book of short stories.

    Do I write short stories? I have tried in the pass but I am not good at it. All my ideas end up too big and come out more like scenes of bigger pieces instead of a short story.

  3. I prefer novels. Character development is a big reason. But that doesn't mean I don't like short stories. I love short stories by everyone from Isaac Asimov to Ray Bradbury, from Arthur C Clarke to Agatha Christie. I actually prefer Hemingway's short stories. I don't like him much at all as a novelist. And, so far, I feel the same about Charles Dickens--but I admit I haven't read enough of his longer works to be quite as definite. Katherine Anne Porter has some lovely short stories as well.

    Yes, if my favorite authors wrote short stories, I would definitely give them a try (as evidenced by the list above).

  4. I love short stories! (That's probably why I am a magazine editor.) It's sad that they are a dying breed. My most favorite author, Connie Willis, is a master at short stories and at novels too. I don't prefer one over the other, I think. I love them both.

  5. Wonderful article, though I will add that I adore short stories. I love novels too. They're both great, and I think you give some good reasons why that's the case.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  6. In general I prefer novels for a lot of the same reasons you and others listed, especially for the character development. I do like short stories, especially ones by Stephen King. His story "1408" is my favorite short story.

  7. There are some writers who are master of the short story and those I will always read. But as a writer, I feel a little iffy. For one thing, I'm not really sure what a short story is supposed to be. Is it a slice of life? Is it a compressed beginning, middle and end? Is it (here's my problem) supposed to be "meaningful?" (Ugh!)
    I read the New Yorker -- probably the ne plus ultra of short story publication in the country -- and I must confess more than half the time I start their stories and then just get bored and skip to the movie reviews. So if that's the best current short story writing in the country...
    And thanks for listening to my rant!

  8. Short stories are a dying breed, but I think that if it was written by one of my favorite writers like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, etc. then I would read it.

    However, there are times when one enjoys short stories, while there are other times when one likes novels. Everyone has there preferences.

    I'm not any more than I am the other, I guess. I prefer reading anything as long as it keeps me entertained and interested.

    Write on, John, awesome post!

  9. Thanks for commenting, everybody!

    I could see that there are many people who like both novels and short stories (although most people prefer novels).

    This is good news for me, because I like writing short stories. And I don't plan to stop.

  10. Hi, I am your latest follower.

    I like reading short stories, not as much as novels but I am not opposed to reading them. I like 'Harrison Bergeron' by Kurt Vonnegut. I enjoy writing short stories more than I do reading them! Awesome blog btw - I love Dr. Horrible, lol about that.

  11. I love short stories. I always buy those best short stories of whatever year collections. I especially like reading the short stories by authors whose novels I love.

    New follower...