Thursday, February 20, 2014

Short stories

I've come to the conclusion that I don't really like short stories all that much.  Yes, that surprised me too, considering that I've written, and published, a bunch of them, in such places as Daily Science Fiction, Nature Futures, and Black Gate. But the thing I realized is that I don't read short stories for pleasure.  I generally only buy anthologies or fiction magazines if I'm either trying to sell them a story or I want to support them, and then I'll read a few stories, but rarely do I get all the way through.  I don't follow short story authors, or buy their collected stories.  I want to like short stories more, but I always find myself drifting toward longer works, novels or even novel series.  I guess that most short stories just aren't long enough for me to really get attached to the characters, and I prefer stories where I can get to know the characters, where there's room for them to breathe and develop, and I don't feel like I really get that from short stories, with the rare exception of a series of stories about the same set of characters (which I find I do enjoy).

So what does that mean?  Despite my modest success selling short stories, I'm probably never going to be a really successful short story author if I don't actually like short stories. And, in fact, the stories I've had the most success selling are either short, funny stories--more like blog posts or Cracked.com articles than short stories, in fact--or really long stories, novelettes or novellas or even serial short novels. And I think perhaps I should focus on my strengths.  I'm not going to say that I'll never write and try to sell a short story again--when story ideas come, I need to write the form that fits them.  But most of my ideas, and most of what I want to write, are novels.  It's the fiction I love to read, and it's the fiction I should be writing.

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