All about Short Stories

by Olivia Fisher
published in Writing

Did you know that the month of May is International Short Story Month? I didn’t! In May 2010, International Short Story Month was first organized as a way to celebrate short stories in all their glory from writing to reading and everything in between. It was inspired by National Poetry Month in April, which we just finished celebrating here at DIY MFA, and StoryADay in May. If you’ve never heard of StoryADay in May, let me give you the quickest explanation I can. Basically, you write a short story EVERY DAY during the month of May. It doesn’t matter how long the story is or what it’s about. All that matters is you finish a story every day. What a way to celebrate, huh? 

There are so many holidays and celebrations that sometimes it can be hard to keep up with them all, especially in the writing community. The longer I’m here and the more I learn, the more I want to be a part of every celebration, even if it isn’t my wheelhouse for reading and writing. Short stories in particular are a fantastic way to build your craft no matter what genre or form you write.

I wanted to help you celebrate Short Story Month this May by doing the work for you. If you’re a writer or lover of short, punchy fiction and nonfiction, then I have a treat for you. I’ve rounded up 10 articles and podcasts from the DIY MFA archives all about short stories from drafting to publishing and everything in between.

So, go ahead and celebrate International Short Story Month!

Seven Reasons to Write a Short Story

Need a reason to jump into writing short stories for May? In this article, Stacey Woodson talks about how writing short stories can help your writing career by giving you a chance to hone your craft and build your author brand in both marketing and voice. 

How Themes are Presented in Short Stories

Strong themes are a big element of short stories, but with so few words, how can a writer make sure their theme comes off clearly for their readers without overstating it? Columnist Sara Letourneau dives into the keys to constructing a theme in a short story and shares a couple of her favorite short stories and their themes as examples.

Episode 141: From Short Stories to Novels — Interview with Susan Perabo

In this episode of DIY MFA Radio, Gabriela interviews author Susan Perabo about characters, imagery, and why it is important for writers to be able to write both short stories and novel length work. Scandalous, right? Thankfully, Susan also talks about the challenges and advantages of short stories to help motivate those of us who might be a little skeptical.

Why Short Stories Matter: Guest Post by Emma Komlos-Hrobsky

One of the best things about short stories is their unique way of punching the reader in the gut in so few words. Put more eloquently in her article, Emma Komlos-Hrobsky talks about the unique way that short stories can appeal to readers and why they have lasted throughout the ages despite not being as popular as the novel format.

 Anthologies and Collections: Putting Stories Together to Tell Bigger Stories

I’m a big fan of short story anthologies that tell a bigger story, and in this article, our leading lady Gabriela Pereira herself tells us how we can put together our own collections of short stories with overarching themes that tie together oh so well. 

 #5onFri: Five Tips for Writing a Great Short Story

Now, I hope you don’t think writing short stories is the easy way out for writers who don’t want to tackle the challenge of a novel. Writing a short story has its unique challenges, and fortunately Ann Thu Nguyenova has our back. In her #5onFri article, she gives readers five tips for writing a great short story.

Opening Doors Through Poetry and Short Fiction

Creative nonfiction and fiction short stories are a fantastic way to learn about different people and cultures and their unique experiences. In this article, author Brenda Joyce Patterson writes about her eye-opening experiences with different short stories and how readers can open doors for themselves by reading and writing short stories.

Short Fiction Suggested Reading

No idea where to start with reading short stories? Hopefully you’ve been able to find a few interesting pieces from our authors above, but if not, Corey Brown’s list in her article will give you a great jumping off point for short story indulgence.

Episode 209: The Internal Process of Writing — Interview with Maxine Rosaler

Maxine Rosaler is an accomplished short story writer, and in this podcast episode, Maxine and Gabriela talk about quality over quantity in short stories and the difference between a novel in stories vs. a short story collection among other great advice about drafting. So, go ahead and give it a listen.

 A Short Story from the Slush to the Cover

Have you ever wondered how literary magazines take a story from submission to final print and how they choose what stories to include in their issues? So did Bill Paterson. In his article, Bill breaks down an Editor’s process for accepting and rejecting a short story.

Happy Short Story Month, word nerds. Feel free to share your favorite short stories or what kind of short stories you write in the comments or on our social media posts this month!

Olivia Fisher

Olivia Fisher is a writer and editor who loves to read and write middle grade fiction. When she isn’t imagining living in a treehouse or chasing down her two young boys, she enjoys curling up with a book, writing her next epic adventure, or fighting off the ghosts of the Bermuda Triangle while hauling up the untold treasures and hidden histories of the civilizations deep within its secretive waters. While only some of that is true, she does love animals, babies, and trying to live in the state of child-like wonder that we all secretly, or not so secretly, miss. Follow along with her adventures on Twitter or hire her for your next writing escapade on Fiverr

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