There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.Maya Angelou
Do you love literature? Do you feel you have an inner creative streak you’ve never yet acted on? Do you have a brilliant idea that you’re afraid isn’t long enough to make into an entire book, but that you really just want to finally write down? If so, Short Story Day could be your chance to discover a new passion and create something you can be proud of. You don’t have to have written anything before to start writing now.
After all, everyone has to start somewhere. All you need to become a writer is a pen and paper, or a computer, or a typewriter, if you will―the rest is entirely up to you. So if you have a story in you that’s waiting to be told, don’t wait and celebrate Short Story Day today!
Learn about Short Story Day
Short Story Day takes place on the shortest day of the year… Very clever, right? It also gives you the opportunity to broaden your knowledge by reading some short stories. Take some time out from all of the chaos that goes on pre-Christmas and enjoy a moment of literary calm. Sheer bliss, right?
Not only does this day give you the ability to read interesting short stories, but you can write your own. It does not matter whether you want to keep it to yourself or you intend to publish it to the world, grab your pen and start writing! Writing a short story can be a fun and even therapeutic way to spend your time. Plus, you never know; you may uncover a skill that you never realized you had.
Every year on Short Story Day, there is a theme, so we recommend taking a look at this, as it can lead you in the direction of the sort of books you should read and write on this date. Of course, we won’t tell anyone if you decide to go against the theme. After all, you may simply detest the genre of book suggested! Nevertheless, it is a fun way to read something that you would probably never considering reading!
You may be wondering what counts as a short-story anyway. Most short stories tend to have a word count between 1,000 and 4,000. However, some can have a word count three times the size of this and still be deemed as a short story. There are no hard rules on the word count front. For stories less than 1,000 words, they tend to be called “flash fiction” or a “short, short story”.
In order to be considered a short story, it typically needs to be read in one sitting. It tends to focus on an incident that is very much self-contained or it could be a number of incidents that are linked together. The intent is to evoke a single mood or effect. One of the great short story writers of our time, William Boyd, said the following about short stories:
“They seem to answer something very deep in our nature as if, for the duration of its telling, something special has been created, some essence of our experience extrapolated, some temporary sense has been made of our common, turbulent journey towards the grave and oblivion.”
History of Short Story Day
As the name itself suggests, a short story is a story that can be read in one sitting. As with many concepts in the realm of the humanities, it can be hard to determine exactly what qualifies as a short story, but most contemporary definitions tell us that a short story must have anywhere between 1,000 and 20,000 words.
Short stories became especially popular in the late 1700s and early 1800s, with ones like Richard Cumberland’s “The Poisoner of Montremos” and Washington Irving’s “Rip van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” becoming instant classics. Some of the most famous short stories have also been written by authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Leo Tolstoy and Stephen King.
How to Celebrate Short Story Day
As mentioned before, the absolute best way to celebrate Short Story day is to finally get that idea you’ve been toying around with in your mind on paper. Not everyone is destined to be a world-renowned writer, but you owe it to yourself to try, so no matter whether your idea is for a scare-filled horror story, a complex mystery, a funny little anecdote, or anything else… If you find that you enjoy writing, that first little short story may continue to evolve until it’s a collection of short stories.
Or maybe you will get so into the art of storytelling that you will be inspired to continue to develop what was originally supposed to be a short story until it ends up being a complete novel? And then…who knows? It may just get published. But even if it doesn’t, you will have found a new hobby, something that allows you to express yourself, like other people paint and yet others photograph things that fascinate them.
If writing is something you don’t feel any desire to try, however, Short Story Day can still be an interesting and enjoyable experience that broadens your horizons. And because reading a shirt story does not take that much time, you can celebrate this day without having to take the day off work! “Harvey’s Dream”, a rather sad exploration of what Alzheimer’s disease does to a person, is considered by some to be one of Stephen King’s best short stories.
“Romantic Weekend” by Mary Gaitskill is dangerously dark and sensual, and will let you know just how much you’ve been missing out on reading “Fifty Shades of Grey”. And if literature that evokes feelings of dread and tension, then Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is guaranteed to raise all of the hairs on the back of your neck until the very last page.
All in all, this day is not just for writers, it is for everyone who appreciates the art that is good literature. There are a lot of great short story authors, so spend some time researching them and reading their different works. This includes the likes of Deborah Eisenberg, James Baldwin, John Cheever, Mavis Gallant, Isaac Babel, Katherine Mansfield, Anton Chekhov, and many more.
The great thing about short stories is that it does not take a lot of time for you to read them and determine whether or not an author’s style is right for you. Make sure you take the time to share the works you enjoy online. Not only because others may enjoy them, but it helps the author to raise their profile and reach more people too.