20 Unforgettable Quotes About Short Stories


  1. A short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film. ~Lorrie Moore
  2. The great thing about a short story is that it doesn’t have to trawl through someone’s whole life; it can come in glancingly from the side. ~Emma Donoghue
  3. A short story is a different thing all together – a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger. ~Stephen King
  4. Women want love to be a novel, men a short story. ~Daphne du Maurier
  5. A good [short story] would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit. ~David Sedaris
  6. Newt Gingrich wrote a novel, and he’s a short story. Bill Clinton wrote a biography, and he’s a novel. ~James McBride
  7. A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it. ~Edgar Allan Poe
  8. A short story is a shard, a sliver, a vignette. It’s a biopsy on the human condition but it doesn’t have this capacity to think autonomously for itself. ~Will Self
  9. Short fiction seems more targeted – hand grenades of ideas, if you will. When they work, they hit, they explode, and you never forget them. Long fiction feels more like atmosphere: it’s a lot smokier and less defined. ~Paolo Bacigalupi
  10. My highest point was the first thing I won, a short story competition in a women’s magazine in the Eighties. It was the first time I’d had my writing validated, and the first thing I’d ever shown anyone else. ~Kate Atkinson
  11. My short stories are like soft shadows I have set out in the world, faint footprints I have left. I remember exactly where I set down each and every one of them, and how I felt when I did. Short stories are like guideposts to my heart… ~Haruki Murakami
  12. With a novel, which takes perhaps years to write, the author is not the same man he was at the end of the book as he was at the beginning. It is not only that his characters have developed—he has developed with them, and this nearly always gives a sense of roughness to the work: a novel can seldom have the sense of perfection which you find in Chekhov’s story, The Lady with the Dog. ~Graham Greene
  13. I believe that the short story is as different a form from the novel as poetry is, and the best stories seem to me to be perhaps closer in spirit to poetry than to novels. ~Tobias Wolff
  14. The short story is still like the novel’s wayward younger brother, we know that it’s not respectable – but I think that can also add to the glory of it. ~Neil Gaiman
  15. I used to write things for friends. There was this girl I had a crush on, and she had a teacher she didn’t like at school. I had a real crush on her, so almost every day I would write her a little short story where she would kill him in a different way. ~Stephen Colbert
  16. I find it satisfying and intellectually stimulating to work with the intensity, brevity, balance and word play of the short story. ~Annie Proulx
  17. If you look at my last songs and first short stories, there is a real connection between them. ~Kazuo Ishiguro
  18. I’m a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can’t and then tries the short story which is the most demanding form after poetry. And failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing. ~William Faulkner
  19. Somewhere around the place I’ve got an unfinished short story about Schrodinger’s Dog; it was mostly moaning about all the attention the cat was getting. ~Terry Pratchett
  20. When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you. ~George Saunders

Join us for Short Cuts – How to write a short story.

Amanda Patterson by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Pinterest,  Google+,  Tumblr  and Twitter.

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. The Secret to Writing a Great Short Story
  2. Five 10-Minute Fixes for Your Short Story
  3. The Top 10 Reasons to Write Short Stories
  4. Finding Inspiration for a Short Story – Three writers who inspire me
  5. How to outline a short story for beginners

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This article has 4 comments

  1. Farouk Lawan Da'u

    I can’t wait to join you.

  2. Indrani Munbodh

    Excellent quotes.

  3. khanyisile

    excellent and exciting quotes thank you

  4. Sapan raj

    It is very helpful for my research. Thanks

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