As I've probably said dozens of times on this blog already (sorry, is it a sign of old age - repeating yourself? Hope not!) - I started out as a short story writer before becoming a novelist. Winning two short story competitions was what really made me believe in myself as a writer, and spurred me on to getting published.
I often mention this when I give talks, too, as for me, it really helped : I don't think I could ever have written a 100,000 novel without first having mastered the art of the short story. But everyone is different, and I know there are plenty of published authors out there who went straight into writing novels without trying short fiction first.
Well, this is what I'm trying to find out - and I need your help!
For a new feature I'm writing for 'Writer's Forum', I want to find out how many novelists (the percentage of those who respond to me) started off as short story writers, and how many plunged straight into writing novels. The more responses I get from any authors out there, the better - so I'd be really grateful for just a quick 'yes' (if you started with short stories) or 'no' (if you didn't) via this blog, or straight to me via e-mail (email@example.com) if you prefer. Thanks so much, in advance! Oh - and if you've got time, and don't mind copying this request to your own blogs, to reach even more writers, I'd really appreciate that too!
That's just the first and most important question. There are others ... for instance I'd be interested in hearing from short story writers who never switched to writing novels because they prefer short stories. And in following up some of those who did make the switch, to find out whether they found the transition difficult, and whether (like me) they're still writing short stories alongside the novels. So if you're willing to be quizzed further I might come back to you.
I'll be repeating this request on Facebook and forums to get as wide a coverage as possible. Hoping the results will be interesting! Thanks again for any help you can give.