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General Category >> Contest Stories >> What Ails the Short Story - essay NY Times

Message started by Webbie on Feb 8th, 2014, 4:09am

Title: What Ails the Short Story - essay NY Times
Post by Webbie on Feb 8th, 2014, 4:09am

The American short story is alive and well.
Do you like the sound of that? Me too. I only wish it were actually true. The art form is still alive — that I can testify to. As editor of “The Best American Short Stories 2007,” I read hundreds of them, and a great many were good stories. Some were very good. And some seemed to touch greatness. But “well”? That’s a different story.

Read more here

Which brings up the question, what do you think is going on with storytelling in general?

Title: Re: What Ails the Short Story - essay NY Times
Post by Jeangoldstrom on Feb 9th, 2014, 7:17pm

Thanks for the link, Webbie. Interesting essay.

I picked up a recent Best American Short Stories book in my favorite second hand store. Oh boy, I thought! Here comes some good reading...but alas.

I quit reading after the fifth story. The first four were Pity Poot Me The Misunderstood Hero. The fifth was about...something else, I forget what. I could not get up my interest to continue further.

King is right in his theory that short fiction is pretty much in the dumper. (Whortleberry Press stories excepted, of course.) But to back off and try to take in a larger horizon -- the world we know is changing fast.

Printed fiction has been popular for about 300 years. That is not much more than a tick in the clock of human history. Our world has changed profoundly in the past 300 years. Think of the changes in that time. For example, 300 years ago, relatively few people _could_ read.

Pulp fiction was the favored entertainment of a mass audience -- when those pulp mags cost a dime -- or less. King's choice of reading material at $80-some dollars is not a choice all of us are able to make.

So, I will go read some fun stuff on the Net -- maybe even an story. I can afford that. So can a lot of people.

IMO we have to face the fact that writing fiction is no longer a full time work activity. And that's not a bad thing. It just means the field will shrink -- or grow -- to commodate only those who really want to do it.

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