10 Innovative Short Story Collections To Expand Your Mind

Short stories are a great medium for authors who want to experiment with different techniques and push their fiction in new directions. The ten collections listed here cover topics that range from the natural world to urban life to supernatural phenomena. If you love well-written stories that make you think, you've come to the right place. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Short Story Collections: Our 10 Picks

Title Author
1. Sandlands Rosy Thornton
2. The New York Stories Ben Tanzer
3. The Redemption of Galen Pike Carys Davies
4. Cities I've Never Lived In Sara Majka
5. Songs for the Deaf John Henry Fleming
6. The Girl with Brown Fur Stacey Levine
7. Notes from the Fog Ben Marcus
8. Train Shots Vanessa Blakeslee
9. Only the Animals Ceridwen Dovey
10. What's Important Is Feeling Adam Wilson

Short Story vs Novel

Short Story Novel
Word Count 1,000 - 20,000 40,000 or more
Story Structure Single event Three-act structure
Main Characters Usually just one Often several
Room for Subplots? No Yes

6 Films Based on Short Stories

Short works of fiction are often the basis of short films, but many have been adapted into features as well. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Birds based on the story by Daphne du Maurier
  2. Duel based on the story by Richard Matheson
  3. Children of the Corn based on the story by Stephen King
  4. A Sound of Thunder based on the story by Ray Bradbury
  5. Brokeback Mountain based on the story by Annie Proulx
  6. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty based on the story by James Thurber

How to Write a Great Short Story

In Depth

Some authors like to break the mold and try new concepts with their writing, and short stories are a great place to let the imagination go wild. From satirical takes on the supernatural to tales told from the viewpoint of animals, the compilations on this list all offer something innovative. Presented in no particular order, here are ten unique collections to broaden your perspective.

#1 on the list is "Sandlands" by Rosy Thornton. From rare and exciting creatures to serene landscapes, the coastal English county of Suffolk is full of captivating plants and animals. Thornton uses myriad natural elements to tell intriguing stories centered around the region. She ties the area's rich history to its present, all while painting a vibrant picture of the local environment.

At #2 is "The New York Stories" by Ben Tanzer. A combination of three previously published volumes, Tanzer's work centers on the imaginary town of Two Rivers, in upstate New York. The characters and plots are often dark and morbid, and they're tied together by common themes like fragile relationships and bad decisions. Through descriptions of people young and old, the author offers poignant commentary about small town America.

A combination of three previously published volumes, Tanzer's work centers on the imaginary town of Two Rivers, in upstate New York.

Coming in at #3 is "The Redemption of Galen Pike" by Carys Davies. With a focus on detailed characters and witty writing, these tales take place all over the globe. A middle-class worker from the American south experiences the freezing temperatures of Siberia in one, while a Quaker in Colorado develops a friendship with an imprisoned man in another. Davies' protagonists discover truths about themselves by stepping into the lives of others.

#4 is "Cities I've Never Lived In" by Sara Majka. A blend of heartbreak and comedy, Majka's collection includes a series of connected stories about a recently divorced young woman. The author analyzes space, such as the distance between loved ones, or the emotional disconnect between a person's public and private personas. It's an exploration of what we sacrifice in the search for ourselves.

At #5 is "Songs for the Deaf" by John Henry Fleming. Using humor and wit, Fleming writes about popular myths and supernatural phenomena. From a teenage messiah who appears during a basketball game, to a lost alien who increases the sex drive of a town, the book offers satirical twists on fables and tall tales.

Using humor and wit, Fleming writes about popular myths and supernatural phenomena.

#6 on the list is "The Girl With Brown Fur" by Stacey Levine. The author builds her narratives around relatively basic, day-to-day details. From there, she displays the weirdness and mystical nature of humanity, with ideas that blend the realistic with the bizarre. Through plots such as a woman enamored with the bland normalcy of her husband, Levine takes what is usually comfortable, and makes it slightly distressing.

Coming in at #7 is "Notes from the Fog" by Ben Marcus, which takes a dystopian look at the modern world. A couple contemplates the morality of artificially injecting emotions into mourners at a funeral, while a parent becomes scared of his son's villainous intelligence. Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, this collection offers a sardonic view of human despair.

At #8 is "Train Shots" by Vanessa Blakeslee. These stories focus on unique characters struggling with dark realities. A star musical artist ponders suicide. A doctor relies on drug addiction in the wake of his wife's death. Everyday life is blended with complex emotions and eccentricities in this award-winning compilation.

These stories focus on unique characters struggling with dark realities.

#9 is "Only the Animals" by Ceridwen Dovey. The narratives in this book are presented from the perspective of animals that have been casualties of human war. Using the voices of other creatures, Dovey touches on subjects both fun and philosophical. She makes us question why we view animals the way we do, and what our relationship with them truly means.

Finishing the list at #10 is "What's Important Is Feeling" by Adam Wilson. The people featured in this collection are all dealing with change and growth. There are classmates working on a project, knowing they're failing, but pushing forward nonetheless, as well as bankers out on the town the day before the stock market crashes. Written with equal parts humor and empathy, the result is an exploration of when adulthood really begins, and the difficulty of taking a hard look at ourselves.