Stephen King’s Advice: Writing Short Stories

So one of these days I’ll write a “real” post (I’ve got one planned for next week), but for today, I’ll redirect you to writer legend Stephen King. A couple weeks ago, Chris gave tips on writing flash fiction. Many (if not all) of the points he made for flash fiction, however, are applicable to any form of short story. As an editor of short stories for a small but growing speculative fiction magazine, I’ve learned a lot about what I want to read just from having the privilege of reading the stories I receive there. But more importantly, it’s given me some insight on how I’d write them, too.

The short story is an art form. But it’s also essential to learning craft. I jumped into writing as a kid with images of a novel in my head, but as Stephen King mentions, back then I simply wasn’t ready to wade the novel “quagmire.” I still had a lot of writer-ly growing pains. It wasn’t until I wrote and completed my first short story in college that I began to see what it was I had been having problems with. The novel quagmire — though never easy — is easier than it used to be for me. And I think this is in large part because of the short story.


How do you feel about writing short stories? Do you read them?