Words matter. These are the best Short Stories Quotes from famous people such as Gulzar, Jon Scieszka, Holly Black, Whit Stillman, Nancy Kress, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
Short stories and poems are an intense burst of emotions.
When I was one day old, I learned how to read. When I was two days old, I started to write. By the time I was three, I had finished 212 short stories, 38 novels, 730 poems, and one very funny limerick, all before breakfast.
Can you write 200 words a day? 100? 50? In six months, 50 words a day is 9,000 words. That’s 2-3 short stories. If you did 200 words every day, in three months that’s 36,000 words. That’s half a short novel.
I really like the short stories that Melissa Bank writes. I think she’s sort of channeling the female version of J.D. Salinger in more recent days.
Novels have much more space than short stories, which gives you more leeway with the number of characters you can include. Even ‘furniture’ characters can be described and given speaking parts to develop background or atmosphere.
I know it may sound silly, but I think my short stories have a life and identity of their own. They crop up in all sorts of places.
On the other hand, now that I’m not dependent on fiction for my income, I’ve been writing more short stories despite the fact that there’s no real paying market for short horror other than Cemetery Dance.
There’s a joy in writing short stories, a wonderful sense of reward when you pull certain things off.
I’ve always loved short stories. Even before I was a writer, I was reading short stories – there were certain writers where I just felt like they could do in a short story what so many writers needed a whole novel to do, and that was really inspiring to me.
For me, being a writer was never a choice. I was born one. All through my childhood I wrote short stories and stuffed them in drawers. I wrote on everything. I didn’t do my homework so I could write.
I guess I would say that most of what I’ve learned about storytelling derives from novels and short stories. I cannot think of a novel or story, or a novelist or story writer, who thinks in terms of three-act structure.
I was a good student, but a speech impediment was causing problems. One of my teachers decided that I couldn’t pronounce certain words at all. She thought that if I wrote something, I would use words I could pronounce. I began writing little poems. I began to write short stories, too.
I’ve made seventeen or eighteen films now, only two of which have been original screenplays, all the others have been based on short stories or novels, and I find the long short story ideal for adaptation.
Plays are wonderfully different than short stories, first because it’s a story that’s on a stage, but there’s a different sort of tension that appears on stage – you get to see your characters in a different way – like with lights.
As an actor, there is room for a certain amount of creativity, but you’re always ultimately going to be saying somebody else’s words. I don’t think I’d have the stamina, skill or ability to write a novel, but I’d love to write short stories and poetry, because those are my two passions.
As a teenager I wrote to R.A. Lafferty. And he responded, too, with letters that were like R.A. Lafferty short stories, filled with elliptical answers to straight questions and simple answers to complicated ones.
When I complete a novel I set it aside, and begin work on short stories, and eventually another long work. When I complete that novel I return to the earlier novel and rewrite much of it. In the meantime the second novel lies in a desk drawer.
I feel a bigger sense of fulfillment when writing a novel, and short stories are more about instant gratification.
I love YA, and it’s been a really good fit for me. But at some point, I would like to try something else: a collection of short stories, or writing about something other than high school. A lot has happened to me since I was eighteen.
I studied the short story as part of my creative writing course at university but then set off as a novelist. Generally, there is a sense that even if you want to write short stories, you need to do a novel first.
I would never have thought my collection of short stories would win the Giller.
I think most fiction writers naturally start by writing short stories, but some of us don’t. When I first started writing, I just started writing a novel. It’s a hard way to learn to write. I don’t recommend it to my students, but it just happens that way for some of us.
I started off doing fiction in 1993. It didn’t occur to me to do nonfiction because it wasn’t a thing yet. So I was bumbling around, writing short stories, and then I took a nonfiction workshop, and I realized that this was what I was supposed to do.
No matter how long my day job hours were, I always made time to write. I wrote fiction, short stories, and poetry. I never shared it with anybody.
Most of my short stories are fantasy.
When I was in college, I used to write little ditties and short stories and poetry for my friends. Writing a book is another thing. It is so much different from my traditional day of dirty fingernails and greasy hair and hot pans.
I’ve written short stories in first person, but you have so much more control writing in third person. Third person, you know what everybody’s thinking. First person is very limiting, and I could never sustain a first person novel before.
You want to hear an agent scream, say, ‘I’m thinking about doing a collection of short stories set in the Ozarks.’
I always wanted to direct and write a movie, but I thought that I didn’t really have it in me. I tried to write fiction and humorous short stories, and some were considered successful, but it was always a huge effort for a small reward. I was always intimidated by the process.
Like many writers, I started by writing short stories. I needed to learn how to write and stories are the most practical way to do this, and less soul-destroying than working your way through a lengthy novel and then discovering it’s rubbish.
Punk gave you a kind of chutzpah, so even trying to be a writer, I just thought, ‘Well, I’m going to send poems to ‘Radio Times,’ short stories to the ‘Observer,’ just have a go.
I write short stories, and I wrote a play.
David Burnett was the son of Martha Foley, who edited the Best American Short Stories series. She hired me to work with David and her to read stories for the anthology.
I decided to write short stories because they got rejected quicker.
I would say that all short stories have mystery naturally built into them.
I always wrote as a vehicle for expression but did not try writing for publication until my mid-thirties, at which time I started writing for magazines. I wrote essays and then short stories, then moved into novels.
I’ve been writing since I was sixteen. At first, I wrote mostly short stories and poetry. The first thing I ever had published was a poem about a football game. It was printed in my local newspaper.
Every decade, we get a stunning collection of dynamic, heartbreaking short stories. In the past, those collections came from Barry Hannah, Mark Richard, and Thom Jones.
I used to take my short stories to girls’ homes and read them to them. Can you imagine the reaction reading a short story to a girl instead of pawing her?
It got to the point where most of my time went toward writing novels. I would still occasionally write short stories, but only when I was commissioned by an editor to write for a themed anthology or special issue.
My favorite short stories are by Alice Munro, especially her collections ‘Carried Away’ and ‘Runaway.’
I started trying to be a writer and failed for years. I tried novels, short stories, sitcoms, movies, plays, anything. And then, to support myself, I had millions of jobs on the fringes of show business.
When I was in college, I wrote poetry very seriously, and then once I had started writing short stories, I didn’t go back to poetry, partially because I felt like I understood how incredibly difficult it was.
Short stories are wonderful and extremely challenging, and the joy of them, because it only takes me three or four months to write, I can take more risks with them. It’s just less of your life invested.
If you look at my last songs and first short stories, there is a real connection between them.
Children can’t help but create: they need to put their mind on the page, they want to paint, to sculpt, to write short stories.
I consider myself a writer. I don’t favour any type of writing. I sometimes wish short stories came more easily to me.
I was always interested in creative writing growing up. From junior high on, I was writing short stories. I also grew up watching movies. My father would take me to everything. Most weeks, I could open the paper having seen every movie listed.
Everything Sholom Aleichem talks about in his plays and his short stories is about people, family, man’s relationship with his God, the breaking down of tradition.
I established my first writing routine when I was 13. The school year had just ended, and I’d won a stack of books for being the best student in a number of subjects. The pile included several 60-leaved notebooks that I decided to fill with short stories.
To be interested in short stories, you have to be interested in fiction as an art form.
I started writing short stories. I tried writing horror, mystery, science fiction. I joined a little critique group here in town and ran my stories past them. After about three years, I tackled my first novel, Subterranean. It took me 11 months to write.
I write short stories when a little idea occurs to me, that I know isn’t a part of a novel that will stand by itself and should be concentrated.
I’m only a novelist on occasion. Many of my books are made up of brief texts collected together, short stories, or else they are books that have an overall structure but are composed of various texts.
I have a book in the pipeline of short stories. You want to hear an agent scream, say ‘I’m thinking about doing a collection of short stories set in the Ozarks.’
My favorite author is Anton Chekhov, not so much for the plays but for his short stories, and I think he was really my tutor.
I hadn’t meant to do the pattern of publishing short stories and then a novel. I thought, ‘I’m a novelist. I know it.’ But you have to kind of write a lot of bad novels before you can write a good one, I think, so I did that. But meanwhile, I loved the short stories I did.
I’ve been writing short stories since I was a little girl.
I have no very sophisticated understanding of literary forms. Short stories are shorter than novels, and poems are typically shorter than either, though not always.
I write all the time. I do artwork that’s part of a diary, and I write short stories to go with them pretty much every day.
I wrote one terrible manuscript after another for a decade and I guess they gradually got a little less terrible. But there were many, many unpublished short stories, abandoned screenplays and novels… a Library of Congress worth of awful literature.
I found that I could write two kinds of short stories: I could write very absurd, kind of surrealistic, funny stories; or I could write very dark, realistic – hyper-realistic – stories. I was never happy with that, because I couldn’t meld the two.
I’m mostly a novelist these days, but I have written short stories in Fantasy, Science Fiction and horror.
I’ve always written short stories.
I like the eclipses, the synaptic jumps of short stories. The reader has to participate very actively in the experience.
The truth is that the writers who most influenced me weren’t people categorized as crime writers. I’d say I learned more from John O’Hara, who isn’t much read today but whose short stories I really admired, and Hemingway, who I think has lasted pretty good.
Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.
I started out in graduate school to be a fiction writer. I thought I wanted to write short stories. I started writing poems at that point only because a friend of mine dared me to write a poem. And I took the dare because I was convinced that I couldn’t write a good poem… And then it actually wasn’t so bad.
Short stories are fiction’s R & D department, and failed or less-than-conclusive experiments are not just to be expected but to be hoped for.
Maybe it’s because I was named for him, but I’ve always wanted to meet Nathaniel Hawthorne. It’s oversimplifying, but all Hawthorne’s short stories and novels are, in one way or another, about guilt. Something profoundly disturbing must have happened to him at an early age. I’d like to know what that was.
You have to be kind of clued into them, they are a world of their own, and most people find them disappointing because the best short stories are not constructed like novels.
Fiction came quite a while later. I began with short stories and fiction for children.
I have always loved short stories. I have been at least as influenced by the short story masters as I have been by novelists.
I was writing short stories aged seven or eight. I had a vivid, overactive imagination.
It took me a long time to know enough about writing to really write short stories. You can’t just immerse yourself, as you do in a novel, and see where everything goes. Novels are a very flexible, accommodating form. Short stories aren’t.
I saw the short stories people were doing on Kindle and really liked the idea of seeing something I’d written on that screen.
I tend to be more of a novel writer. In fact, some of my novels started out as short stories, and I just got carried away! I think some of my best writing is in the short story form, but novels come more naturally to me.
Robert Louis Stevenson… I’m focusing on the late short stories that I was ignorant of. I always thought he was a boys’ author, but he’s not at all.
Once I started writing novels, I understood how hard it was to write really good short stories.
There are some short stories in R. Crumb comics that are just wonderful and touch me in ways no other comics do.
Short stories are not maybe the biggest deal in our culture anymore.
The market for short stories is hard to break into, but a magazine editor isn’t always looking for big names with which to sell his magazine – they’re more willing to try stories by newcomers, if those tales are good.
I still read Hemingway. I still read his short stories because they’re so good. He doesn’t waste any words.
I wanted to be a writer, but at the time, I spent my days working a retail job, my nights sleeping in my childhood bedroom, and while I had written short stories here and there, I didn’t know how to write good fiction anymore than I knew how to perform good brain surgery.
I was 35 when I started taking classes at Ohio University. After I got my degree, I kept working at the mill. When I was 45, I decided I was going to try to learn how to write short stories.
I have some other novels I want to write. I have a lot of short stories – I love the short story.
One of the things I am most excited about personally is a five-issue anthology I put together, ‘Legends of Red Sonja,’ which is full of wonderful little short stories written exclusively by my favorite female writers of comics, prose, and gaming.
I knew from the age of 16 that I wanted to be a writer because I just didn’t think I could do anything else. So I read and read and wrote short stories and dreamed of escape.
I got into writing short stories and blogs while on the road.
I don’t think I’d have the stamina, skill or ability to write a novel, but I’d love to write short stories and poetry, because those are my two passions.
Written by the ancient Chinese philosopher of the same name, the ‘Zhuangzi’ is one long perplexing puzzle of a rambling collection of enigmatic short stories. It’s a strange feeling to laugh at a joke written by someone in the 4th century B.C.
Three of my novels and a good number of my short stories are told from the point of view of men. I was brought up in a house of women.
Yeah, I used to write short stories at first, but once you work on something, you want to show people. My peers weren’t interested in me reading 30-40 pages to them.
I used to publish these stories in 32-page comics, and I would either do short stories or break the long ones up into chunks so there would be some variety inside the comic. But since then, people have been doing more and more long, standalone works, and the term ‘graphic novel’ has sort of become the codified term now.
I went to classes on writing for film and theatre as well as short stories at Stanford.
I love short stories, but I’ve never had the impulse to write one. Same for ghost stories.
Suspense is very important. Even though this is humor and they’re short stories, that theory of building suspense is still there.
Hemingway is terribly limited. His technique is good for short stories, for people who meet once in a bar very late at night, but do not enter into relations. But not for the novel.
I was well traveled, and I created this illusion of literacy through reading and writing. I wrote a book of short stories.
Even when she was alive, Esther Kreitman’s novels, short stories and translations received far less attention than the work of her famous brothers, I. J. and Isaac Bashevis Singer.
When I first started ‘Humans of New York,’ I was writing short stories. There were about 50 of them. And, you know, they were a great part of the site, but the photography just started growing so fast that I didn’t have time to make them anymore.
When I started out in the early 1930s, there were a great many magazines that published short stories. Unfortunately, the short-story market has dwindled to almost nothing.
While my favorite book of short stories is Fredrick Brown’s ‘Nightmares and Geezenstacks,’ my favorite single story is ‘Sound of Thunder,’ by Ray Bradbury.
I started writing about New York as soon as I arrived. I was 19. I used to write short stories and send them out.
Many of my short stories (all unpublished) were horror, and the novel I’d just finished was horror, too.
Short stories, for me, it’s like you step inside this brand new car and you drive it and you drive it into a tree and you walk away from it.
I usually have about four books on the go – a bedside book, a lavatory book, a downstairs book, and the book in my study that I read sneakily while I should be writing. Short stories for the lavatory, obviously.
Songwriting is telling short stories. But instead of 15 to 20 pages, it’s three to five minutes.
I was 17 when I wrote a collection of short stories and wanted it published but it didn’t happen. A lot of publishing houses don’t allow young authors to enter into writing segments.
People will think being the daughter of a celebrity is a very different life but surprisingly, we lead a very normal life and that’s what people will realize when they read my short stories.
That’s why Tennessee Williams was a great writer. Poetically, dramatically, it was fantastic stuff. And with the landscape, the losers in life populating it. His short stories have got rhythm, something musical about them.
When I was in the Peace Corps I never made a phone call. I was in Central Africa; I didn’t make a phone call for two years. I was in Uganda for another four years and I didn’t make a phone call. So for six years I didn’t make a phone call, but I wrote letters, I wrote short stories, I wrote books.
But at the same time, I have trouble keeping things out of books, which is why I don’t write short stories because they turn into novels.
I actually think that short stories transfer to film much better than novels do.
History is ultimately storytelling. I think the more stories you write in life – and I’ve written a lot of screenplays, a lot of short stories – you realize it’s your interpretation of events that people read, and they absorb that.
In college, I wrote maybe three short stories.
Eventually, I just want to write wavy little short stories.
Poetry, fiction as novels or short stories – these are autonomous as created by their authors. They should stand on their own, like pieces of furniture that should be judged as to their usefulness, elegance.
I think the few writers who influenced me most in writing short stories are Alice Munro and Grace Paley. They’re very different, and I can’t do what they do, but reading them gives me hope that I’ll learn something from them.
I’m sure I’ve been influenced by every fine writer I’ve ever read, from Dickens and Austen to Auden and Jane Hirshfield. And also, the short stories of Updike, Cheever, Munro, Alice Adams, and Doris Lessing. And the plays of Oscar Wilde. And paintings by Alice Neel and Matisse.
Well, to be honest I think I’m a better short story writer than a novelist. Novels I find very hard, hours and hours, weeks and weeks, of conscious thought – whereas short stories slip out painlessly in a few days.
I was intentionally curbing the impulse to be funny and hiding the ability. I wrote any number of very serious attempts at poems, short stories, novels – horrible. At a certain point, I recognized that it was fun to write dialogue that had a degree of lightness and humor.
Without always meaning to, I write really long short stories, 60-pagers, 90-pagers, pieces of fiction that are too long for all but the bravest magazines to print, and too short for all but the bravest book publishers to publish.
It’s tricky to take a book of short stories and turn it into a feature film.
When I went to university in Colorado, I was encouraged to write very innovative, experimental things, and some of the short stories in ‘Bearded Ladies’ are a little bit experimental.
In college, I discovered the Joyce Carol Oates short story ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ which is definitely one of the most incredibly unnerving, frightening short stories ever written.
A few of Ellison’s short stories from the 1940s and 1950s were widely anthologized over the years. After a while, it became generally known that he was at work on another novel. Though he remained aware ever afterward of the authority ‘Invisible Man’ gave to him, no second novel followed his brilliant debut in 1952.
If you’re an American reader, you can love short stories the way other Americans love baseball; this is our game, people! We have more than two hundred years of know-how and knack, of creativity.
I’ve read short stories that are as dense as a 19th century novel and novels that really are short stories filled with a lot of helium.
I didn’t really start to write until I was almost 30, and I started with the short stories.