Do readers like short stories?

No, don’t stop reading this… even if you really don’t like them. You can read a short story in bed and be satisfied that you know what happens to the hero or the heroine before you turn the light off and go to sleep.  If the short story is part of an anthology, you could even read two stories before going to sleep.

Short stories have to be concise, which requires a certain amount of precis talent.  What writer hasn’t tried to cut down the number of words, especially if as in a competition, you have a restricted word count?  It is also advisable to keep the number of your characters to a minimum, otherwise you might stop your reader from getting to sleep whilst trying to work out ‘who’s who’?  You can turn a sentence around completely and lose a few words, and you can cut out all the adverbs which to my mind doesn’t always result in interesting writing.  Next you can cut out most of the ‘thats’, ‘nows’ and buts’ and all extraneous bits of information preventing the story from going forward.  You cannot go off on a tangent in a short story, unless of course, your story has a Twist in its Tail!  So what are you left with? A tight piece of writing, hopefully.

In May of this year, I sorted through some of the short stories I’d written and came up with fifteen I considered would be suitable for a book:  and so FIFTEEN BRUSHES WITH LOVE was born.

All fifteen stories, although very different, are centered around LOVE, but there is no erotic content.  Love is such an over-used word, because it can mean different things to different people.  As in THE VILLAGE FETE, elderly Agnes sits waiting patiently for her husband to come back from the war.  In ALL FOR THE LOVE OF ANNA, a piano takes centre stage!  In A DOLL FOR CHRISTMAS, a little girl loves a ‘dolly’ in a toy-shop window and in CHRISTMAS FEUD, Santa and the Fairy fight for supremacy at the top of the Christmas Tree with some surprisingly horrific results!   In PORTRAIT OF A DREAM, a young woman is drawn to the National Gallery in London, by a mysterious thread.  Was it all a dream?


Any comments would be appreciated, please.



About phylburton

I live in south-west Surrey in England. I am an author of three published books, and I have another book of short stories due for publication in March 2018. I love singing, water-colour painting, walking, Cornwall and of course writing and reading good books. All three of my books - A PASSING STORM, PAPER DREAMS and WHEN THE ICE MELTS, were published by Matador (Troubador Publishing) Ltd. WHEN THE ICE MELTS was published in August 2016. My next book - THE POWER OF LOVE - is due to be published by Bridge House Publishing in March 2018. For more details about me and my writing, please go to my website:
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  1. Short stories are often not taken seriously enough, which is nonsense. They take as much skill to write as longer novels – probably more so, as you only have a short time in which to engage your audience and to deliver a suitably punchy ending.

    Phyl’s collections of short stories are well worth reading, as they are well-written and although cover the general area of ‘love’ are diverse and enchanting!

  2. francenestanley says:

    Your explanation of how to produce a short story is concise, but I’m sure it’s harder than you say. Your take on love stories is inspired. Apparently, short stories are all the rage at the moment. I should have a go at writing one. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • phylburton says:

      Thank you Francene for your kind words. Short stories are a great love of mine and don’t, unlike my 2 and a half full-length novels, take up too much of my time. Good luck with yours.

  3. Jane Risdon says:

    Phyllis, I love your stories. Short stories are difficult to write and really make one concentrate hard and think about every word, every sentence, ensuring the meaning can be conveyed not only with brevity but with enough colour and movement as to fully engage the reader and leave them wanting more. I really enjoy the challenge of writing shorts as well as Flash Fiction – another great skill; to tell a complete story in possibly just 100 words is not an easy task, but very satisfying. My first love is and always will be the novel however. Short stories are great for the train, the bus and for grabbing a few moments when lie is on hold for a while. Loved this, thanks. Good luck with all your writing Phyllis. 🙂

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