Why would someone who is a published novelist continue to write short stories?

Interesting post from truepenny on the issue of developing short fiction and/or novels and the various publishing myths associated therewith. I’d just been thinking that over myself recently.


3 responses to “Why would someone who is a published novelist continue to write short stories?

  1. As an agent with her hawklike eye on several genre markets, do you think that the actual market (by which let’s say “paying, or at least respectable-looking enough for my resume, market”) for short stories versus novels has changed dramatically over the last decade or two? It seems to me that far more SF novels are published these days, compared with far fewer magazines.
    I don’t even know if there *is* a paid market of mention for short stories in the romance genre these days. But romance novels can come in shorter lengths, at least.
    And as someone nearly incapable of writing to short-story length, I’m glad you don’t feel it’s an essential for a writer’s resume.

  2. Interesting – thank you for the link.
    I’m one of those novelists who write, and publish, quite a lot of short fiction – mainly because I like writing short stories (as someone else points out in the comments list, they’re very different animals from novels). It’s a refreshing change from novels and I get ideas which can’t, in all honesty, be stretched to novel length.
    There are more practical aspects, in that publication of short fiction continues to put your name in front of the reading public – if you have 1-2 novels coming out in a year, well and good, but there’s a lot out there and I think the short fic can act as an advertisement for the books. I will admit to a certain cynicism in trying to place short fiction that is set in the same world as one of my recent novels, in one of the high profile mags if possible.
    Initially, I had short fiction published before I got a novel accepted (in InterZone and Year’s Best) but I’m not sure how much this influenced Shawna’s decision to take me on as a client. And I do think that if it is to have an effect, then publication in Asimov’s, Realms or F&SF is of more value than, say, Bognor Turnip Monthly or others of the small press…

  3. Good discussion. I’ve sold several short stories, but not a novel (yet she says, crossing her fingers and toes and knocking wood.) I do find the writing of both to be very different — short stories tend to spring like hungry tigers on my head and gnaw on my brain until I get them written. The novel I’m working on now is a more orderly sort — it waits patiently till the short story tiger gets done chewing, then politely taps me on the shoulder before locking my mind in a vise-like grip. Fortunately for me (and my brain), those SSTs are generally few and far between.
    Also, I think short stories as an excellent venue to tell those bits of our worlds that don’t quite fit into the ms., but are just too interesting not to be told.

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