Tuesday, September 5

Bad Wrap

It seems to be the opinion of many a novel writer that the short story is not really much of a literary form. I think that many of the novelists cannot themselves compose, or know what they would write that could possibly ONLY fill five to thirty pages. I also am under the impression that many authors think pounding out a short story is no harder than pounding out a newspaper article. (Which is often short as well) And while Journalism is a touch easier (though not easily mastered) than the short story I think that the masters of the craft of short-stories shouldn't be looked down upon. I mean you can't say that ALL short stories are good (however a bad short story requires less time than a bad novel...) or that ALL novels are good. I would hazard to guess that more people try to write novels than try to write short stories.

I was reminded of this short-story bias as I was listening to a collection of Robert Newton Peck's short stories in a collection called "Past, Present and Future". During the introduction he brings up this point himself and claims that short stories aren't easy to write. (Well, at least good ones) I have always thought that Ray Bradbury's short stories were some of the most amazing bits of fiction. They didn't give me the whole story, but enough of it that it left me wondering and amazed. At the 826 event the other night one of the authors called the short story writers the "losers of the literary world."

I have always aspired to write a story of some type (what type that is changes as I change) but I am becoming more inspired in my belief that a true mastery of the literary art is indeed the short story. (Then again I think that puns are about the highest order of humor and comedy possible, so take this as you will.) Why wouldn't the short story be the best form? Lets look at the benefits: 1. It's short: In today's world where people are rushing all over the place all the time, people can sit down and get a whole thought provoking story in one sitting vs drawing it out in a long novel. Which brings me to point 2. How is it not masterful to do in five to thirty pages what takes novelists 250 to 800 pages?

Not everyone is going to be able to pound out novels, and there are enough novels that not everyone is going to read all of them. A well written short story can do everything a novelist sets out to do, (unless it's write an 800 page story) but can do it in less time.

Now, I must be off to work. Email is down and I suspect I'll be getting a phone call or two in a few hours if it's not fixed.



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