The short story

The short story is dead, or so I’m told, sometimes by other aspiring writers. In our attention-starved, narcissistic, go-go-go times, one might think that the short story is the optimum medium to attract readers. A 400-page novel is too much when you have endless things to do that, for whatever reason, take up a higher slot on the things-to-do list than reading. Enter: the short story. I’m obviously not the first person to venture this idea.

I write short stories. I started with them and I think that the short story is the best place for the beginning writer to work with form, technique, voice. Some of the best writing comes in the short story, some of the best images, characters. Yet, the short story never quite gains the respect it deserves.

I’ve been told to abandon the short story by a writer friend of mine. No one publishes them anymore, he says (referring to collections). For me, it’s not about the possibility of getting the publishing contract for a collection. It’s about being able to say that I have published work out in the ether. Go here, read my story. That might open up a discussion of why writers write, but I’ll save that for another time. I want to be able to point to my work and say, “that’s mine.”

That said, if you know any great new collections or individual stories that I have to read, let me know. I’m always starving for new stuff.

Finishing up Adam Johnson’s Emporium now. What a great collection.

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3 thoughts on “The short story

  1. It kills me when people make claims like “the novel is dead” or “the short story is dead,” yet there are so many great novels and short story collections being published. Alice Munro continues to write and publish some of the best short stories ever written. Her most recent collection Too Much Happiness is amazing. The Atlantic Monthly just published its annual short story collection (tucked inside the May issue). I haven’t read it yet, but can’t wait to dig in.

  2. I write short stories, too. And I get harassed and harangued about writing a novel because ‘the short market is dead’ as well. But dead or not, short stories are my crack. I am happily addicted to efficient prose and I’m not looking for rehab, thanks! 🙂

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