It’s like a book, but shorter…

After the excitement of yesterday’s announcement, I was thinking about the feedback we’ve received and some of the thoughts of the more novel-focused parts of the community, me included.

There’s an assumption, in some circles, that crafting a good short story is easier than a novel; after all, it’s short, right? Less to do?

Whilst that’s certainly true, short stories present their own unique challenges, the biggest of which is their… well… shortness.

When writing a novel, you can have over 100,000 words to play with. All that space to build a world, characters and engage the reader whilst having a narrative structure.

And then here’s your short story, now you have to do the same work but in only 5,000 words or even less. Build this world without feeling rushed. Develop a story without relying on cliché. Introduce your characters without taking all day.


The best short story writers among us do that with ease. An ease which belies the skill which is needed to do make it.

So, does that mean that The Blank Page Challenge Short Story Competition is not for you? Does that mean you should leave it to other, “better” writers?


No, it doesn’t.

Firstly, and most importantly, because only you can tell your stories. They belong to you and if you don’t write them down, no one else will and we’ll all miss out on them then. So, don’t be so selfish, share your tales.

And secondly, because our short story competition is here FOR you. The clue is in the name, it’s a Challenge, an opportunity for you to try and experiment. If you’ve “only” written novels, try something shorter. If you’re used to writing short romances, try a short fantasy. Use this competition as a catalyst to reach beyond yourself, safe in the knowledge that you’re among friends, and we’re all rooting for you. Really.


But what does a good short story look like? Well, what better way to let you know than to showcase some of the recent work from our very own panel.

Below you’ll find three pieces; each perfect in its own way and a fine example of how to tell an awe-inspiring story… just… you know… short.

And now, enjoy, let me know what you think in the comments below and don’t forget to show the authors some love to. It’s their skill on display here and I feel lucky to be able to share it with you.

Rebecca Yelland – The Event: Mystery and intrigue in a tale that… I won’t spoil. Go read it!

Hollie Hausenfluck – Just a Dream: If you want to read something that you can feel in your core, you’ll struggle to find better.

Avrin Kelly – Small Bones: part of the “Have Tools, Will Travel” stories, Small Bones is full of Avrin’s signature sense of the macabre and unusual…

(Don’t forget to follow this blog and share it around, the more people we have involved in The Blank Page Challenge, the better it will be!)

((Oh and join me on Twitter and Facebook too!))

2 Replies to “It’s like a book, but shorter…”

  1. Thank goodness for Twitter or else I may have never heard of this wonderful challenge. I can’t wait!


    1. It is a great place, isn’t it? We’re really excited to get started and see the pieces everyone comes up with!

Leave a Reply