Do you avoid reading romance short stories? Is it because they feel too short and incomplete compared to a novel? The problem is that a short story is supposed to offer a different reading experience.
What is a short story?
There should be a simple answer. There is not.
Merriam-Webster.com defines the short story as “an invented prose narrative shorter than a novel usually dealing with a few characters and aiming at unity of effect and often concentrating on the creation of mood rather than plot.”
So vague and so… incorrect. If it’s a mystery short story, it’s all about the plot. Right?
Blurb.com states that “a short story is a work of prose fiction that can be read in one sitting—usually between 20 minutes to an hour.”
I think that depends on the reader.
The American Literature website says that a short story is “fully developed” fiction that is “typically between 1,000 and 20,000 words.
Not quite accurate, since some romance novellas are less than 20,000 words.
Until we can find a better definition, let’s all just agree that a short story is a fully developed work of fiction that is less than 20,000 words or can be read in one sitting in under an hour.
What can readers expect from a romance short story?
A short story will not give the same reading experience as a novel. However, it still should offer the promise of the genre.
Therefore, if you are reading a romance short story, you should find a central love story and an optimistic or emotionally satisfying ending.
So what is different between a novel and a short story? It’s the goal of the story.
A romance novel is showing the highs and lows of a romantic relationship and how the main characters got to their happily ever after.
A romance short story is showing a defining moment in the relationship between the main characters. Perhaps the focus is on how the first meeting set the tone of the romance, or the story could be about what prompted the leap of faith to become (or remain) a couple.
Whatever happens in the short story, it is a significant game-changer for the characters.
What isn’t a romantic short story?
A romantic short story is not a scene or a teaser from a larger story.
It’s is not a prologue, which is used to introduce the reader to the characters or situation.
In a romance short story, the characters and their romantic relationship will go through an important change from the beginning to the end. And it has to be for the better in order to fulfill the genre promise of an optimistic ending.
Why read a romance short story?
A romance short story offers a quick and complete read. There are no cliffhangers and no buy-the-book-to-find-out-what-happens-next surprises. It’s also a low investment of the reader’s time and effort to try new authors.
In fact, this form of fiction requires writers to distill their writing style and core story. The short story should pack an emotional punch. It will also offer clear insight on what the author thinks are the requirements of a hero and heroine, a commitment and a loving relationship.
What romance short story should you read?
Start with something free, super-short and written by the most popular romance authors today.
Here are three romantic reads by Harlequin Presents authors that the publisher made available online. You might have to register on Harlequin.com to gain access, but the process is easy and at no cost to you.
“First Kiss with a Prince” by Caitlin Crews: When Evelyn Massey dutifully attends a luxurious party, she has no idea that the seductively handsome stranger she meets is going to change her life forever, one delicious kiss as a time!
“His Palace Proposal” by Clare Connelly: Returning to Valdenstein after three years, Mia is reunited with childhood friend Prince Henry. Now that they’re together once more, he has a most seductive proposition…
“A Royal to the Rescue” by Michelle Smart: When Lucy misses her bus in the typical English rain, she gives up all hope of making it to her interview on time. Until a gorgeously handsome, and oddly familiar, stranger comes to her rescue…
What to read something longer than a romance short story? Learn more about the romance novella here.