5 Short Stories That Should Be Made Into Short Films

Posted by Sarah Fox

It's Oscars season, and one of the few opportunities for regular theater-goers to enjoy short films on the big screen. There's a special place in our hearts for these bite-sized narratives in both film and book format, so we've made a list of short stories that should be made into short films.

“For Esmé—with Love and Squalor” by J.D. Salinger

This story needs to be made into a short film stat; it has Oscar-winner written all over it. It has everything that the Academy loves: World War II, PTSD, and redemption through the innocent, platonic love of an adolescent. We also think it would be refreshing to see another live-action short film that is full of hope and peace. We are also pretty sure that the song sung by Esmé and the children’s choir would make it to #1 on iTunes.


“A Temple of the Holy Ghost” by Flannery O’Connor

We cannot get enough of Flannery O’Connor’s satire, and we think this would be a hilarious, yet thought-provoking, short film. The scene at the fair is made for cinema (East of Eden established that fairs are cinematic gold). The world cannot get enough “coming of age” films, and this one would be a good addition, especially with its unique theological perspective and biting wit. Besides, who doesn’t love Southern Gothic?  


“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Neil Gaiman

We know its winning of the World Fantasy Award for short fiction was controversial because it was a comic, but we believe that it totally counts as a short story. Still, we would like to keep the story’s original form, and it would be a dream come true for the artists of the comic to make this into an animated short film (with Neil Gaiman’s writing, of course). We love the meta-elements of the story, and we think that anything that does a fun twist on Shakespeare is a winner.


"Challenger Deep" by Marina Keegan

This is one of the most haunting stories we have ever read, so it would be the perfect horror short. The story takes place on a submarine in the depths of the sea. In total darkness. It would need amazing voice actors to pull off the film, but it would win the Oscar for sure.


“Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell

Films that are made from young adult novels are hot in Hollywood right now, so why not make a movie from a young adult short story? “Midnights” charts Mags and Noel’s relationship through several New Year’s Eves. This would be a great opportunity to make a mini-version of Boyhood and track two actors through a few years of their adolescence. If nothing else, it is a great opportunity to watch music and fashion trends morph throughout time.

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox is an editor, writer, writing consultant, and pop culture enthusiast. Besides regularly contributing to Quirk Books’ blog, she has published an edition of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. You can find her online at www.thebookishfox.com.