It’s not the size, but what you do with it that counts.
Alright you lot, get your minds out of the gutter. I don’t want to talk about that today, but rather story length. Stories come in all shapes and sizes; long ones, short ones, medium ones and zig-zaggy ones. Some people prefer short stories, others would rather read a full length novel instead. No size is particularly better than any of the others, but as with all things in life everyone has their own opinions and preferences. Even writers. Some of us only want to write short stories and would get bored trying to write an entire novel. Others only write novels and consider a short story a waste of their time and talents. Many of us write both in unequal measure.
There is no particular story length that is “easier” to write than all the others. All stories require the same skills in grammar and punctuation, the same ability to use a few words to build an entire world in the reader’s mind, and the same techniques of characterization. Each has required skills specific to it, but practicing either helps hone your writing skills for the other form.
Personally, I prefer to write novels and novellas. Nearly every time I try to write a short story, I end up with a book on my hands. Part of this is an inherent tendency towards wordiness (or had you noticed that? I thought I noticed you noticing). Part of it is simply that I don’t really read short stories very much. I prefer longer works, usually the longer the better.
With that said, I have pretty much every collection of Valdemar short stories that Mercedes Lackey has ever produced, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple short stories are among my favorite mystery stories of all time, and I’ve been known to read children’s books for my own amusement well into adulthood. Moreover, I periodically have the urge to write a short story. As I said above, frequently these end up simply being the first chapter or two of a novel, but occasionally the story is complete in a few words. A recent short story, titled “A Little Imagination,” is actually one of my best pieces of writing to date in my own opinion. It is exactly the length it needs to be, with nothing extra and nothing held back. I am currently polishing it for submission to a major magazine or online ‘zine. If it is picked up, I’ll be ecstatic. Many great novelists got their first sale with a short story. Others have never written anything shorter than 300 pages in their lives. No one path works better than any other.
Currently Reading: Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss