Over at Criminal Brief, the question has been raised as to why so many seem to avoid the short story. The argument is made (I hope to get it right) that working in the short story form helps a writer focus on what is important. Many student writers (a lot is directed at student writers, I think) want to work on novels.

In the comments, I mention that it is not cost efficient for anyone who can sell a novel to spend the time writing short stories. It certainly isn't cost efficient for Laura Lippman or Ken Bruen. It isn't even cost efficient for me. The time spent writing short stories would be more profitably spent writing novels, etc.

I also point out my biggest problem recently - I've got a drawer full of short stories that I know to be good, but I can't even give them away. Some are too long for SHOTS, Crimespree and Shred are closed to new submissions. What's a boy to do? Yes, yes, there is Demolition, but they are publishing one of my stories this July.

In the words of the immortal Randy Jackson: "I dunno dawg. Whatchu tink?"

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Comment by Daniel Hatadi on June 6, 2007 at 10:49pm
If novels are the only way to make a living, then I think short stories still have an important function, aside from just plain enjoying reading them. Writers need to play to keep their creative juices fresh. Shorts are one of the best ways to try out an idea without committing too much time to it if it doesn't work out. And it's that playing that leads to all kinds of ideas in the long run.

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