Short stories are hard. Harder than novels.
That’s what I and many other writers think, as you can see from some of the interviews here. A novel gives you time to develop characters, control the action, and create a full world. A short story has to do as much of that as possible in a very limited space.
At the same time, a short story can be completed in much less time.
I had a short story published in the anthology RUM AND RUNESTONES last year called “X Spots the Mark” in which pirate Captain Irad the Fair follows a fake treasure map. Of course, being one of my stories, things are never as they seem and you can expect a twist at the end.
The sequel will soon be published in another anthology called CUTLASS AND MUSKET: TALES OF PIRATICAL SKULLDUGGERY. And then my story “The Zombie King’s Plan” will be in the collection TALES OF FORTANNIS: A BARD’S EYE VIEW due out in June (and edited by me!)
I am doing more short stories in anthologies these days for exposure. When someone buys an anthology, they probably have never heard of me or read anything by me. They’re getting it because they like the subject or because there is another author whose story in the anthology they wish to read. But once they have the book, they may take a chance and read my story as well. And then I might have another reader who will want my novels.
Plus I get paid. I mean, come on, that’s nice too.
So if you’re a starting writer, consider short stories as a way to get noticed. In the TALES OF FORTANNIS series I am editing, I am more than happy to read stories from unpublished writers, and in fact, about half of the stories in this first collection are from first time authors. I am already planning the next edition and have set a deadline for August 1, 2011. More information is available here.