I love to see what people are searching for when they land on this blog. I think the strangest one was "zoo sex" after Patti's last flash challenge. I don't even want to think about that :) But yesterday someone landed on here searching for "the target audience of short stories".
As writers we have to target our short stories to certain markets and the readers they serve. But that search made me think about the short story audience in general. From the time we start to read, we read short stories. All those Golden Books, our fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and fables are short stories. All through school we read short stories from the classics like Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" to modern day story tellers, which for me, was a story called "Flowers for Algernon" that our English teacher mimeographed from a magazine. Short stories stick with us, usually far longer than the novels we read.
Take a look at TV. Each episode is a short story. As far back as I can remember episodes of programs like "The Twilight Zone" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and even some of today's shows, like "Unforgettable", are based on short stories. And so many movies, from "Stage Coach" to "Brokeback Mountain", began life as short stories.
For most beginning writers it's the short story that comes first. We learn to write by taking baby steps. Most of my first stories ranged from 500 to 1000 words. From those first shaky steps our writing begins to grow and expand into longer work. But for those short story beginnings we might never have written.
We are a world of short story readers. We love this short form, even if we're not totally aware of that fact.