The Short Story Project

I was introduced to the short story genre in high school and simply fell in love.  It's completely different from reading a novel.  A novel is a lengthy involvement.  Character development and plot must transport you into the author's world as the story gradually unfolds.

Short stories are distinct experience.  A good short story writer will make you care about the outcome of the characters even though you may not necessarily know anything about them.  It is a complete experience in one sitting; not too unlike reading a poem.  You read the short story/poem for itself and not for the hope that it will drag out for 800 pages and then maybe have a sequel.

The short story genre has become a lost art.  When newspapers were at their height, a writer could make a name for himself by publishing a short piece of fiction every week.  Charles Dickens is a perfect example of this.  Since then, the literary world changed.  You have to have an agent to even approach a publisher.  Magazines and newspapers won't even look at your writing unless you've already written for another magazine or newspaper.

I believe that the literary world is changing again.  E-readers and e-books have drastically altered the face of independent publishing.  Authors now have the freedom to experiment with novel length.  But now the problem is no longer the publishers; it's the readers.  People scoff at the short story genre.  The stories are just like a book only shorter, right?  Wrong.

So I'm starting The Short Story Project.  Starting tomorrow (2/14/11), I will be featuring authors that have written short stories.  Along with a bio, I asked each author to mention why they like their short story and/or why people should read short stories.  The idea behind this project is to raise an awareness of the genre.  Short stories are not novels cut short.  They are each pieces of standalone fiction.

Comments

  1. I agree -- I think Kindles, Nooks, etc. will help people discover (or rediscover) the joy of reading short stories. Thanks for shining the spotlight on this genre.

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  2. Charles Dickens is my hero. I agree - when I see what is happening in the publishing world, with prolific writers being able to publish their own work if they want to (not everyone wants the hassle, of course) then I think of Charles Dickens, who published his novels in instalments in Household Words and other magazines.

    Mind you, didn't he wear himself out promoting his work in America?

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  3. Entirely possible. Americans can be rather exhausting to work with =D

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  4. Wanna read mine?
    http://thissmallfrenchtown.blogspot.com/

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  5. I am following this with interest. I have just read Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" - which is a wonderful example of what can be achieved in the short story form.
    Daphne

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  6. Short stories are ideal for reading on smart phones. I use a Kindle app on my BlackBerry, and have read many short stories (and a few novels) this way.

    David

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  7. I couldn't agree more, Alain. Although I've also written novels, I love the short story form. Dickens (and O. Henry) are two of my favorite authors, so I'm delighted to find a fellow Dickens fan online.

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  8. Charles Dickens was an acquired taste for me as I got older. When I was originally required to read some of his works in high school I didn't much care for the man. But I have since gone back and changed my views.

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  9. I do think the market dictates the height of the art form to some degree. When there was a great paying market for short fiction great short stories were produced -- I think of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Salinger, Poe, Bierce, on and on. If a new market develops, we should see an increase in incredible short fiction. Exciting!

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  10. Well what's interesting is that people still, to this day, criticize those guys. Mostly people who don't read short stories =)

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