“Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.”
May is here, and that means it’s National Short Story Month! Short stories may be—well—short, but if done right, they’re certainly not shallow. With the power to convey deep emotion and pull readers in with compelling characters and settings, they pack all the explosive punch of a firecracker. Who can forget the unforgiving wilderness of “To Build a Fire,” the tragic beauty of “The Happy Prince,” or the hilarity of “The Ransom of Red Chief”?
How can you best celebrate Short Story Month? Make the most of May by trying these tips.
Read Short Stories
What better way to commemorate Short Story Month than by reading great short stories? Visit your local bookstore to find anthologies, or browse online for collected works. And don’t forget to branch out: If you usually read mysteries, try a humorous story. If you’ve never ventured beyond historical fiction, experiment with science fiction. The sites below, which contain links to classic short stories, might help you get started.
Share Short Stories
Help others discover the beauty of the short story. Some people avoid reading because they’re daunted by the thought of reading a long work. If you know reluctant readers, help grow their interest in reading by introducing them to your favorite short stories. Or suggest short stories in a genre they enjoy.
And don’t forget the smallest readers! Short stories for children abound. Take your children to the library to borrow Aesop’s Fables, or read your grandchildren the story of the Ugly Duckling. Older children might enjoy Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories or some stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Write Short Stories
Try writing your own short stories! There’s no set limit for the word count of a short story, but keep this gradation in mind: short story, novella, novel. You can find excellent advice for short-story writers at Jerry Jenkins’s website.
Who knows? Perhaps writing a short story will give you unexpected ideas. Maybe writing a somber story will inspire you to write a poem about bravery in the midst of loss. Maybe you’ll realize that your story’s protagonist would be the perfect character to star in a mystery novel.
Whatever you do, don’t pass up the chance to celebrate Short Story Month! Whether you choose to revisit classic stories or write your own tales, you’re sure to strengthen your writing abilities and widen your perspective.
What are your favorite short stories? Tell us about them in the comments!