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.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Black Gate Review
My most recent review for Black Gate, this time of E. Nathan Sisk's Sorcerer Rising, is now online. A small taste:
Sorcerer Rising falls firmly into the fantasy noir tradition, most akin to the Harry Dresden books. It has the cynical first person narrator, down-on-his-luck and regarded with suspicion by his peers, trying to make his way in the world while retaining a modicum of self-respect (and usually failing). However, Virgil is not a Harry Dresden knock-off. For one, while Harry’s a powerhouse, even when he’s overmatched, with a host of skills and a ton of power, Virgil’s something of a magical weakling. The Brand has taken away his knowledge and the incident which led to it has taken away most of his power. He gets by on a host of tricks, including a magical shotgun named Abigail. The lack of knowledge and power forces Virgil to rely more on his wits and on his familiar, Algernon, a separate part of his own mind with a knack for processing information unhindered by the filter of a superego.
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