Short Stories vs. Novels

In honor of the upcoming release of the first book in the new series of devotionals for fiction lovers, 21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love, I thought my readers might like to know more about the authors who contributed short stories to the book. This week’s guest is Nanette Thorsen-Snipes.

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How is writing a short story different from writing a novel? How are they similar?

Short stories are shorter (obviously), have fewer characters, and far less time to develop the characters. But they both have a beginning, middle, and end. Short stories aren’t any easier to write. They still need character development, plot, and action.


What do you enjoy about writing short stories? What are the challenges?

I have a freelance editing business, and my time is at a premium, so short stories are ideal for me to keep my fingers in the writing pie. The greatest challenge? Finding the time to write.


What are the benefits of getting a short story published?

You gain writing credits, which is a prelude to getting longer, or different, works published.


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’ve published short stories in more than fifty-five compilation books, including three Guideposts anthology books (Miracles series), the New Women’s Devotional Bible, and the Chicken Soup series. I’ve also published short stories and articles in numerous magazines, including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., Home Life, and The Lookout. The first time I published a short story was for a children’s magazine, and I thanked God for the opportunity to share with that audience. It was humbling to know people were actually reading something I wrote.


What advice would you share with someone who wants to write short stories?

Just start. Don’t let anything hold you back. Read as many short stories as you can, and then read how to write a short story. A short story has a beginning, middle, and end. It has to have conflict and characters that readers care about. Tell the story with real emotion and realistic dialogue. Start your story with a compelling first line.


Nanette headshot.jpbNanette Thorsen-Snipes has published articles, columns, and reprints in more than forty publications and fifty-five compilation books, including stories in three Guideposts anthologies in the Miracles series, the New Women’s Devotional Bible (Zondervan), Grace Givers (compiled by David Jeremiah),four stories in the Chicken Soup series, the Soul Matters series (J Countryman), and articles in The Lookout, Home Life, and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Breakaway. She lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. They have four grown children and eight grandchildren. She owns a freelance editing business—FaithWorks Editorial and Writing Inc. Contact or visit