"I wanted to write science fiction, and The Novel and Short Story Market laid out facts about the market for such tales … the fields were lush, the game most definitely afoot. I mean, seriously. Add up all that space and you get literally thousands of short stories being published every year.
How hard could it be?
That peal of rolling thunder you hear is the combined laughter of every writer on the planet."
So goes award-winning SF author Ron Collins's sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-warming, but always true-to-the-bone ode to a life spent writing the short story. Specifically, the science fiction short story.
Using experience built through thirty years of publishing short fiction, Collins touches on every facet of a writing career, beginning with "Why the Short Story?" and progressing to "The Only Truth" that matters—as well as "The Second Only Truth" that matters. Inside, you'll consider the difference between short stories and novels, partake in a few reader cookies, and even discover the only reason a new writer should decide to join a critique group.
And then there's Write Club. We can't forget Write Club, now, can we?
Other topics include:
•Careers vs. Real Jobs
•Finding Your Beat
•Speed vs. Quality
•The World of Editors
•Short Fiction and the Indie World
•And a lot more!
All discussed with a personal touch that illuminates a life devoted to writing—and reading—short.
If you write short stories, or simply love reading them, this is the book for you.
"When Ron Collins talks about writing (and about life!), I listen. On Writing (And Reading) Short is filled with wisdom, heart, and joy. Writers of all levels will be glad they read it."– David H. Hendrickson, Award-winning author of Death in the Serengeti and Other Stories
"Ron Collins is a master of short fiction."– Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Hugo Award-winning editor
Why Short Stories?
If I were the Grand Emperor of the Universe, short story writers would never have to pay for a dinner. Ever. Their bank accounts would overflow, they would always go to the front of any line that exists, and the sun would shine from behind them every time they made an entrance.
There is a feeling in a short story that cannot be found in a novel—a sense of being on a tightrope, this feeling that a writer has opened a vein into their soul and squeezed out just that most potent dram of the distilled essence of self that takes a reader's breath away.
That sounds so dramatic, doesn't it?
How are we supposed to believe you, Ron, when you hit us with that kind of woo-woo?
It's true, though.
A good short story can change my day. A great one can change my life.
I fully accept that this makes me weird.
My whole life is like that, I suppose. I'm the kind of person who, if given a chunk of dark chocolate, will immediately chomp it up so the cocoa blast hits my senses full speed, then explodes into chocolate smithereens. My wife, who is more levelheaded, will leave that same chocolate block to dissolve on her tongue for as long as it will last. I can already feel her eyes rolling at me for presenting my obviously superior method as so obviously superior, but that too is life.
Did I mention my wife is the kind of person who can take or leave a short story?
Sad. I know.
Luckily, the short story is not a jealous love.
It does not require exclusivity. And, since I try to be one of those "and" people rather than an "or" person (gimme both Star Trek and Star Wars, all right?), I am free to admire a great novella or novel just as well as a brilliant short story.
Or movie. Or…
Just say yes.
Life is too short to be grumpy all day.
But there's something special about a short story.
Something that feels important.
Sometimes it seems like the short story is the runt of the litter, the everyperson, the weary huddled masses yearning to be free. No one cares about the short story. It is the discarded one, the overlooked or ignored child, the one—for some reason that escapes me—seen as of lesser value. Perhaps this feeling that short stories are the lesser of literature's siblings is because they are often—but embarrassingly not always—quicker to write. Perhaps readers think they can feel the writer bleeding over a novel but can dismiss short stories as simply things dashed out on a series of larks.
Who can tell?
All I can say for sure is that it's annoying, that for my "burst of chocolate" taste, the short story is often far more interesting than a novel.
Not "better," and not "always," but "more interesting" and "often."
I am a reader who cannot let short stories go.