Short Stories, Novellas, and Other Shortened Goodness by J.C.L. Faltot

Sometimes it’s better to tell something with less words. Not every story has to be a lengthy contender for War and Peace. Or the next great epic. All a good story really needs to do is this: tell a good story. If the author can do that, then he has achieved what he set out to do. He’s told a good story. Or successfully exercised his therapeutic demons, but we’ll touch on that later.

There are three kinds of short stories typically identified by the publication world. They are novellas, which are the longest; the novelettes, which are somewhere in between; and lastly, the short story. All have differing word counts and can drift between certain word ranges depending upon whom you ask. For example, novellas in the fantasy genre can be considered as high as 40,000 words. In the real of science fiction, that number can drastically drop to about 17,000. So again, it may depend on the genre. But, on the whole, the term short story is typically applied to stories that aren’t quite the length and breadth of a full-scale novel.

As a writer, short stories can seem like therapy work. It may not feel like a project worth pouring every ounce of energy into, but there’s at least something there. Something enough to spill a good amount of words onto paper and see what you’re left with. It could be journaling. Or writing a short poem. I’ve found both to be very therapeutic, though I don’t consider myself to be the best of rhymers. I won’t be winning any lyrical battles any time soon. Not that I would want to.

Yet, there is something to be said for the short story. For example, short stories take less time. Less time for the writer. And less time for the reader. In that way, it’s a win-win. Not everything has to be a punchy, world-building super epic. Some of the best short stories tell a simple tale of human experience. One that can be universal, easily relatable, or chock full of wisdom for the reader.

Or be mere therapy for the writer (as nearly all writing inevitably falls into the category of).

No matter, I have a list of short stories I’ve compiled over the years. The likes of which will no doubt continue to grow. As I have.

J.C.L.

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