Is the short story dead?…
I’ve heard it said that one of the ways you can tell if you are crazy is when you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.
Well, I’m as crazy as a Looney Tune Cartoon.
My craziness stems form the fact that for the third time in my life I’m attempting to launch an online publication dedicated to short story Genre fiction. My other two attempts were miserable failures. But things will be different this time. Why? Because the third time is the charm, right?
According to many media experts, the short story, and the poem are as dead as a “Night of the Walking Dead” zombie. I disagree. I think that the reports of the death of the short story have been greatly exaggerated. Like the zombie, the short story has been stumbling , and groping along trying to get a foothold in the consciousness of a public with a short attention span, and more in tune with television and internet viewing.
Some media studies report that our attention span is now measured in nano-seconds. If that’s so it would certainly follow that entertaining, short story Genre fiction like mystery, suspense and horror stories would fit into a short attention span for reading. My thinking is that young people, would be shying away from the 200,000 word novels in favor of a shorter length of work that would afford more immediate gratification.
The short story is defined as anything below 10,000 words. Some times a lot less, as little as 3,000 words. In my experience the shorter form of writing allows writers to discipline their minds, tighten their plots, and learn the craft of writing. The short story allows writers an opportunity to experiment, write outside their genres, and try something new.
A short story can be read in twenty minutes. It can be read on a smartphone without hurting your eyes, and it can be read while you’re waiting for the bus or on your lunch break. And you don’t have to invest as much in the story, so there is less risk for the reader if they don’t like it.
Undoubtedly one of the major reasons for the reported death of the short story is the demise of popular and literary magazines such as Playboy, Redbook, and Cosmopolitan. These publications paid top dollar for short stories. Professional writers could pay their bills gaining acceptance to these magazines.
An aspiring writer might turn his writing efforts to magazines such as Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock, and Black Mask. The pay in these smaller magazines was not as great as the literary magazines. But, if an aspiring writer could get a short mystery story published he could boast to his friends and neighbors.
‘Look! I’m a published writer! I’ve got the byline and a check to prove it!’
So, here I go again.
I’m going to go Looney Tune, and I’m going to play God.
With Gods help, the help of aspiring writers, and willing readers I’m going to resurrect the carcass of the short story through Aegis Publishing House.
I invite you to bring me your 3,000 word short stories. Bring me your eyeballs and your desire to engage in a few moments of quiet entertainment.