When was the last time you read a short story? I’m not talking about an article out of a gossip magazine or something your six-year old scribbled down in class with his boogers. I don’t care if it’s cute or related to you; six-year-olds can’t write. None of them. Focus.
I’m talking about a real short story, and by ‘real’ I mean a published work of fiction (I don’t count non-fiction in this discussion because the generally-accepted definition of a short story is one in the realm of fiction. That’s just how it is.) somewhere between 1,000 words to 14,999 words. That last number is specific because it’s at 15,000 words that the novella is introduced, and I’d just as well not get into that range. Hell, we can even bring in something lower than 1,000 words (generally considered ‘flash fiction’), but generally the short story tends to get over the thousand-word hump.
Well? Can you remember? Was it high school? If it was, were you forced to read it?
The reason I bring it up is because I’ve recently taken a look around the writing world and found that it doesn’t seem anyone is really writing short stories anymore. It’s not that they’re gone; they’re still there, but just not as prevalent as it seems they used to be.
You walk into a Barnes and Noble now and the most prevalent item is the book. Everyone’s writing books. It’s certainly not a criticism from me. Books are my babies, quiet and boogerless. But I wonder what has led to the decline of the once popular short story.
I like the short story, but it’s just not the popular thing. There are still some short-story masters around, but not as many as there used to be.
Short blog post. These are just the thoughts of the moment.
If you haven’t read it yet, or you read it some time ago and forgot all about it, I recommend “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe.