Quite a few years ago, I decided to write something and post it up here at least once a week. So every week for at least four hundred and eighty-two weeks, I wrote (and occasionally drew or painted) something and posted it. At first, none of it was fiction. I didn’t know how to write fiction.
Then, slightly fewer years ago, I decided to write fiction. I’m not really sure why. I had an idea for a story, so that’s what I wrote. I wrote something short, because I thought that would be easier than writing something long. In one way, I suppose that is true. Since there are fewer words, you can look it over and see all the things that you want to change and wish you had written better in a shorter span of time. In that way, it’s easier. In another, much more real way, shorter stories aren’t easy at all.
By now, I have written somewhere around twenty short stories. And a few much longer ones. Most of them are finished. A few of them I am still working on. One of the unfinished ones is about a third of a book. In a lot of ways, writing that one is a lot easier than the short ones. In a longer story, you have more room to breath. You don’t need to be as precise. The words don’t need to be as densely packed.
In all this time, for whatever stupid reason, I haven’t been reading short stories. I have been reading novels, but I read fairly slowly, so I don’t plow through dense tomes or epic series. It didn’t occur to me that I could read short stories.
As soon as I decided to try to sell a few short stories, I figured I should read some.
Surprise, surprise, short stories are freakin great. They can get weird in ways that a novel rarely could. Exploring single topics fully without getting bogged down in too much extraneous drama. They usually take less than an hour or so to read, and if one of them doesn’t fully hit, you can probably move on to the next pretty easily.
I realize that it seems obvious and idiotic, that if I was going to write short stories, I should also read them, but what can I tell you, It honestly didn’t occur to me.
Also, it seems, the world of sci-if shorts, at the very least, is extremely punk. In all the good ways. In all the counterculture and nonconformist ways that you want good writing to be. That’s probably not me, since I am a pretty bland white guy, but I sure do like to read it.
If what I have been reading is any indication, the future of genre writing is a lot less bland and white. I’m 100% here for it. If I can slip one or two of my semi-optimistic adventures in there with all the punks, I will be grateful.