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17 July 2014 @ 07:43 am
What is the purpose of short stories?  
I'm off to the Cascade Writers workshop this weekend, where I'll be an instructor. One of the things I'll be doing is giving a talk on "The Purpose and Practice of Short Stories." I have a few ideas, but I thought I'd ask you as well: what do you think is the purpose -- or, indeed, the point -- of writing short stories these days?
 
 
 
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on July 17th, 2014 03:19 pm (UTC)
As novels in the SF field have grown to ginormous size, the purpose of short stories as far as I'm concerned is to provide me something to read without making a huge investment of time in something I may not want to finish.

I particularly like single-author collections, because the variety of jumping from story to story but not from one author's style and ethos to another seems to be just the right amount of variety for me. But obviously that's a minority taste.
Tomvoidampersand on July 17th, 2014 03:45 pm (UTC)
Can you serve tapas with your talk? Or bring a box of doughnut holes?
Amy Sissonamysisson on July 18th, 2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
I remember being taken aback by the reaction at Clarion West when I expressed my (admittedly strong) opinion that 99% of writers would be better off starting with short stories versus novels. But I haven't changed my mind -- I've since critiqued a couple of first novels and spent the entire time wishing the writer had used short stories to learn dialog, description, character, even punctuation and grammar.... It's ghastly to try and critique 100,000 words of badly written prose, when you could have made the same critical suggestions for a 10,000 word short story.