The scattered thoughts of short story writer Sandra Seamans
Ah, you must have watched Montana last night with Errol Flynn.
Of course! Listening while I was typing. :)
So, who are the cattlemen in your analogy?
People who believe that only novels matter.
But is that anything new, Sandra? I'd say novels have always been a much bigger part of publishing than short stories.On the other hand, if we include Internet publication, I'd bet that has more than taken up the slack from the disappearing print magazines. (Can't believe "Galaxy" folded.)
Yes, they have, but that doesn't make them more important just because they're longer and make more money.I guess I'm just not money oriented. To me money is a roof over my head and food on the table. Writing short stories will never make a writer rich, but that doesn't make them something to be laughed off as unimportant.And yes, I'm grateful to the Internet for providing new markets for shorts, for putting them out there for people to read and enjoy.
Sandra, it sounds like you're upset over a difference of taste -- or over someone else being a jerk in the way they state their opinions. The world is full of numbnuts and booger-eaters. Not worth getting upset.There was a time when you could make a living with short stories. Up until tv came in (or actually WW2, since paper shortages devastated the magazine market), magazines were a huge part of popular entertainment. The better pulps paid a penny a word -- in the 1930s. That's like twenty cents now.And the slicks -- Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, or (if you had the right literary style) The New Yorker, they paid amazingly well, if you could get in there. (Like Playboy in the '60s and '70s; some of the best sf and mystery writers got the highest per-word rates of their lives publishing there.)The only online equivalent I can think of now is Glimmer Train. I've been politely rejected there; will try again.When it comes to short stories, I guess you're preaching to the choir here.
Preaching to the choir? Yeah, it feels that way sometimes, Manuel. And you're right, I'm upset about several things that happened the last couple of days. I'll try to shut up now. :)
Sandra, it's your blog; your Little Corner. My apologies; I just wanted to make sure you know you're not alone in your feelings about short stories.It's always puzzled me why anthologies and collections don't sell better. (Even if they get critical praise.)A good anthology is like a box of chocolates. (Life is not, but an anthology is. Oh, the original line in the novel "Forrest Gump" was "Bein' an idiot ain't no box of chocolates.")
Sometimes I think people, for whatever reason, convince themselves they don't like stories, even though they've been reading them all their lives.No apologies necessary, Manuel. I tend to get overly aggrivated when I feel that people are running down short stories. I'm a bit touchy on the subject.
Short stories may no longer make you a fortune, but they resonate more powerfully. There are stories, there are epic tales, and later came the novel, which was "new" and well, novel. I think most ideas are stories, but we drag them out to novel length because of market conditions. We're seeing novellas rise in prominence with the rise of e-books, and prior to that, novels shrunk from 450 page doorstops to 150 page "novels."The story may come back stronger than ever, in longer form especially- the 5-15k size. And flash fiction is quite popular for quick reads.I've thought of publishing a story as a Kindle single to see how it does...
Let us know how it goes, if you do, Thomas.
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