Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The Joy of Short Stories
I have friends who love to turn out long books. For some writers, 150,000 words a pop is nothing. The mammoth novel has never been my favorite form. If I have to pick my natural length, it would probably be the novella. And the short story is also a treat for me.
I read a lot of those stories later when I was an American Studies major at The George Washington University and then as a graduate student at the University of Maryland. And I loved them.
But my fondness for the form actually started earlier, when I discovered science fiction as a kid. From the age of ten until into my twenties, science fiction was a lot of my leisure-time reading. And the most frequent variety was the short story.
I’m going to skip over decades when the short story declined in American culture, mostly due to the dying out of the magazines that published them. It’s more fun to go right to today’s resurgence of the market. And I’ll credit the rebirth to indie publishing. You don’t have to be invited into an anthology to write a short story today or find a magazine that still buys them. You can write the stories that stir your creativity and publish them in e-format.
Some authors are doing them to keep readers happy between novels. Others are writing them because they have an idea they want to explore that won’t work in novel form but may be perfect for a short story.
I’ve done a couple of them myself—AMBUSHED and HOT AND DANGEROUS—as well as a novella, CHAINED.
I’m loving the freedom that the indie market has opened up for writers—especially the ability to publish stories of any length you want. And luckily for us, readers are appreciating these shorter works, too.
What’s your favorite story length for leisure reading? Or do you love the freedom to choose what’s best for your mood of the moment?
And stop by Lunch Time Reads at http://bit.ly/TYxidH , where you can find some great short stories by favorite authors, each for 99c.