With the short story form, a writer generally must sustain momentum and use language exceedingly well. Unlike a novel where the writer has the luxury of space to unveil a plot and develop characters, in a short form, a writer needs to hit hard quickly, blow a character out through actions, and reveal her/his writer’s “voice” in a limited area. It’s like having to stand out in a skit, rather than a movie.
This promotion may be somewhat self-serving (since I write short works), but I think I’m also serving the notion of reading itself. In our sound-byte world, the notion of a novel can be daunting—this way we all win!
To get you started, check out Powell’s list of Best Short Story Collections of This Century, pick one that strikes your fancy (or ask me for a recommendation, I’ve read a few on and off this list).
Or, check out this list of the 50 Best Short Stories of All Time.
*Where I could find free text, I have linked it to the title of the story.