A Short Story Is Like a Snapshot
In honor of the upcoming release of the first book in the new series of devotionals for fiction lovers, I thought my readers might like to know more about the authors who contributed short stories to the book. This week’s guest is Jeanette Morris.
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Jeanette, I want to thank you for submitting a short story for 21 Days of Grace. How is writing a short story different from writing a novel? How are they similar?
A short story is like a snapshot—a novel is like a photo album. Both capture moments that include settings, people, events, and themes. A novel promises the reader an extended experience—several hours of getting to know the characters, their hopes, dreams, and flaws. A short story is more like a plunge into a cold river—in and out, but exhilarating and memorable.
I love those comparisons! So, what do you enjoy about writing short stories? What are the challenges?
I enjoy the challenge of writing tight and pretty much knowing ahead of time what the beginning, middle, and end will be. I say “pretty much” because when you write with God, you get surprises—wonderful surprises. I also enjoy writing to a particular topic or theme, and typically, short fiction lends itself to that.
What are the benefits of getting a short story published?
Comradery is the first thing that comes to mind. As a newcomer to the Christian fiction scene, I am honored to be included with those who have a following/fan base. And as I’m polishing up my novel to start submitting to agents, it’s great to have a fiction credit or two already.
Have you ever published a short story other than through this fiction-lover’s devotional series? If so, where? And what was that experience like?
I have entered a few of the Faithwriters Challenge contests and done well. But nothing formally published in fiction previously.
What advice would you share with someone who wants to write short stories?
Read a variety of published short stories to get a sense of what “works.” I was inspired early in my life by the classics (Edgar Allen Poe, Franz Kafka, Washington Irving). More recently, James Scott Bell’s “Autumnal” struck me as exceptional in its ability to draw the reader in very quickly, increase tension with high stakes, and satisfy with a surprising ending.
Jeanette Morris is a freelance editor and writer living out her second-half adventure. She travels, writes and teaches Bible studies, reads, knits, fishes, dotes on her four grandchildren, and blogs about her annual mission trips to Russia. Jeanette and her husband live in Atascadero, CA, and spend summers in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains in their fifth-wheel RV. Her publishing credits include local newspapers and journals, SALT magazine, Secret Place, and Mustard Seed ministries. She is a member of The Christian PEN, SLO Nightwriters, a reviewer for Blue Ink, and an influencer for several multi-published Christian authors.