(I've talked before about David B. Silva and just how great his short story collection Through Shattered Glass is. Originally published by Gauntlet Press as a limited edition hardcover, signed by both Dave and Dean Koontz (who provides the introduction), it's very hard to come by. Which is a shame, because, again, it's such a great collection. But finally Dave has released the collection as an e-book, and to celebrate, I asked him to write a little about it here.)
I Love To Write ’em More Than Readers Love To Read ’em
I had a short email conversation with Rob yesterday. He had offered me this blog space to write a post to help promote my short story collection, Through Shattered Glass, which I just released on the Kindle and the Nook. I was (and still am) very grateful for the gesture and told him I'd like to write about short stories versus novels. I offered a couple of reasons why I prefer to write short stories (which you'll find included here) and he responded with, "Yeah, but novels sell better."
And that's the rub, of course.
Rob is right. Novels have always sold better than short stories. That's why only a handful of people have been able to sustain their careers by primarily writing short stories (Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison, for example).
Though I have to admit, I'm a little surprised that short stories aren't more popular today than they were fifteen or twenty years ago. Time seems much faster today. There always seems to be more to do than the day allows. And as time speeds up, our attention spans seem to grow ever shorter. We're surrounded by distractions. Cell phones everywhere. Texting. Tweeting. Checking the latest on Facebook.
Who has time to read a novel?
Apparently, most readers.
Yet, the ideas that come to me tend to be better suited for short stories. Their landscapes are generally smaller, and there's an intimacy I feel toward the characters that I often struggle to maintain with the characters in my novels.
Yes, you have less space to work with in short stories, less room for error. Though, if you screw one up, you've only lost a week. Screw up a novel and you've lost three to six months. Plus the sense of completion comes much sooner with a short story than a novel.
Yet, short stories are harder to sell and the markets for them are gradually disappearing.
In his introduction to Everything's Eventual, Stephen King wrote: "The short story is also not a lost art, but I would argue it is a good deal closer than poetry to the lip of the drop into extinction's pit."
I hope that's not the case, though I suspect King has it pretty much right. In the meantime, before its extinction, I'll be writing as many short stories as I can.
If you'd like to read a few of them, I invite you to pick up my first collection, Through Shattered Glass.
It's available in ebook form now, here: