I'm talking about the Short Story, Barflys. I have two fingers of Macallans at my side as I ponder this quandry (It's been bothering the hell out of me for sometime) and I thought Crimespace would be an excellent place to pose this question. I find, if I leave this realm of Murder and Mayhem, that the Short Story holds little respect in other forms of literature. People seem to treat it like the red-headed step-child of fiction. This upsets me. Most of the stories I remember with passion and amazement from my 20's and before, are short stories written by the greatest names in literature. And most of them scared the crap out of me, too! Name any great writer from the 1930's on back and everyone of them practiced, and many excelled, at writing a Short. It was rarely either/or, they were practiced in tandem. Since WWII, though, it's been snubbed and ridiculed by many as if you are lacking as an author without a blockbusting novel under your belt. And look at the extremes some authors are willing to go through (i.e. Patterson) to stay on the top! Now, I wonder why the main place for it's survival seems to be our little niche in literature. Short Stories seem to be made for Crime writing and all it's sub-genre. Is it because the subject matter being portrayed needs a harder, less verbose edge and the basic design of a Short is perfect for those of us writing it? We have to cut to the chase, get rid of the frills, because our creations demand it? At any rate, Thank God it's still appreciated by Crime fans. I love the format with a passion and I would hate to see it lost for good.

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Comment by Merrill Young on March 18, 2007 at 5:52am
I think that current Noir anthologies are doing their part to keep crime short stories alive.(Dublin Noir et al, Tart Noir, Geezer Noir etc)
As an honest-to-God menber of the book buying public, I love anthologies. I get a taste of the authors style and then may buy their novel.
Favorite short story writers?
Azimov, Bradbury, Block, and Shirley Jackson
Keep writing the shorts!
Comment by DADavenport on March 16, 2007 at 12:25pm
One brother is always asking, "Why limit yourself?" I can't seem to get the exquisite beauty of a finely tuned Short Story across to him. I mean, look at Harlan Ellison. The man absolutely takes no prisoners with pieces like I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream. So perfect and so chilling, you want to rip your skin off because your flesh won't stop crawling. So, I keep plugging away and hope I get one tenth as good as him some day, and I'll be damned proud of that, when I make it!
Comment by DADavenport on March 16, 2007 at 12:16pm
One brother is always asking, "Why limit yourself?" I can't seem to get the exquisite beauty of a finely tuned Short Story across to him. I mean, look at Harlan Ellison. The man absolutely takes no prisoners with pieces like I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream. So perfect and so chilling, you want to rip your skin off because your flesh won't stop crawling. So, I keep plugging away and hope I get one tenth as good as him some day, and I'll be damned proud of that, when I make it!
Comment by Keith Snyder on March 16, 2007 at 10:42am
Unless you get energy out of them, the opinions of friends and relatives really don't matter.
Comment by DADavenport on March 16, 2007 at 10:16am
Good ways of looking at it. I just hate when people ask me why I am wasting my time with short stories. I have relatives and friends who think unless all my energies are channeled into my WIP, then I am frittering away time by crafting my short stories. However, I think my short stories are honing my skills as a writer. Especially with dialogue. They also keep me sharp for the novel.
Comment by Keith Snyder on March 16, 2007 at 6:11am
I don't think I've ever heard it snubbed and ridiculed. If anything, just the opposite: I keep hearing they're harder than novels. Which I think is just as wrong as any snub I can imagine.

Anything's easy if you do it badly.
Comment by Stephen Blackmoore on March 16, 2007 at 1:11am
I don't think the short story is going anywhere. I think the paying market for short stories has been going down the toilet for decades, though. Everyone, even the New Yorker, has dropped their pay rates. Writing non-fiction articles will make you more money than short stories probably ever will.

But as a dying art form? I don't buy it. Yes, crime seems particularly well suited to it, but I think that has less to do with the genre and more to do with the readers.

I think, if anything, short stories are going to increase in volume and popularity, simply because of the web. Websites need short form content, and people don't want to sit at their laptops and read a novel. I don't think it's going to make anyone much money, though.

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