Tuesday, February 26, 2013

short story boom?

Lately, there's been some high-profile debate about a possible boom in short stories. Earlier this month Leslie Kaufman wrote Good Fit for Today’s Little Screens: Short Stories for The New York Times which states the internet is a good thing for short-story writers. She states, Story collections, an often underappreciated literary cousin of novels, are experiencing a resurgence, driven by a proliferation of digital options that offer not only new creative opportunities but exposure and revenue as well. It's an interesting article. You should check it out.

However, last week Laura Miller disagreed in Sorry, the short story boom is bogus for Salon.com. She states, This would be good news — if there were any reason at all to think it was true. and goes on, at length, to discuss "this imaginary renaissance." This is also an interesting article. You should check it out, too.
To be fair, Miller does say, With the exception of certain communities of genre writer and readers — most notable in science fiction — these writers aren’t reaching a wider audience because they aren’t especially trying to.

As an author with a MFA, I'd say authors have always written short stories. It's a great way to hone your craft. Short stories also enable writers to experiment with all aspects of writing/story-telling. Historically, short story markets for mainstream and literary fiction have been limited. Is this still true?
As a student and writer of science fiction, there's a strong tradition of SF authors writing and selling short stories. SF was born in the pulp magazines. The biggest print pro-rate markets still exist and there have been some new pro-rate digital markets. I would say the SF short story market is booming.
As a reader, there are definitely a lot of new opportunities to buy short fiction via all the digital markets.
So, IMHO, readers are reading short fiction and authors are getting paid.

What do you think?

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