Louis L'Amour has been my favorite short story author since I picked up his first collection in hardcover. I was hooked. These bite-sized stories were perfect for days or weeks when my schedule was particularly busy, or when I wanted a quick trip to the old west. And then the audiobook versions started to come out and I'd found a perfect solution to my short road trips or a day running errands.
Interestingly enough, his were the only short stories I seemed to enjoy for many years. Then a few years ago I rediscovered how wonderful these little tastes of adventure could be. I picked up a short story here and there, sometimes thrilled and other times left wanting, but this resurgence inspired the beginning of my own leap into short story writing.
It began with a contest for which I wrote "Emma of Crooked Creek." I realized with a little more practice (short stories aren't easy to write), that I could write another and another until I had a series going. Then I decided to write a collection of three Christmas short stories which led to a plan for many more collections like it in the future.
Is it difficult to convey everything I want to the reader in a short story? Yes, it can be. Do short stories leave readers wanting more? Often, but I don't consider that a bad thing. Will writing short stories make me rich? Nope, but it sure is fun.
I write short stories because:
1) I enjoy writing them. I like both the challenge and the break they give my brain in between longer works and series.
2) Buying books is an investment. It's nice to be able to give readers an opportunity to sample my writing either for free or at a minimal cost.
3) They can lead to novels. My Crooked Creek short stories will all tie into two full-length novels in the series. A few of my other short stories have inspired full-length works that I plan to write in the future.
4) Attention spans aren't what they used to be, and it's nice to offer something up to readers who prefer to "read on the run."
5) They give me the opportunity to try something new. I always have new ideas; some I toss and others I'd like to try out without spending months writing a novel.
6) Did I mention they're fun?
"Clara of Crooked Creek" is the newest short story in the Crooked Creek collection.
Don't miss the other stories in this series.