Do you see some new possibilities for the short fiction market in digital publishing era? How is it changing?
****Oh. Yes. I am incredibly excited about the possibilities for short fiction. Part of this is what I call the Subway Theory of Reading. People like to have stories they can easily consume during their commute. This also applies to lunch hours. Or breaks. There is a love of a complete reading experience within a limited frame.
Since the introduction of the Kindle, I have been pushing for literary magazines to push regular content to me. I would love to get interesting short fiction this way. I would totally pay for a subscription, and I think I'm not alone. Of course, I am also a huge proponent of serialized fiction, pushed in the same manner. Same concept, different type of storytelling.
Basically, I think the reader demand and interest exists, but I also think the delivery mechanism (beyond the printed book) is critical. Make is seamless, make it easy for readers, make it the right type of story -- I say literary above, but I think it applies to all sorts of reading experiences from genre fiction to literary fiction to non-fiction (which is already glomming this space).
Do you think that readers are going to get used to interstitial reading?
I think readers -- who are regular people doing regular life -- are getting used to interstitial everything on digital devices. I know that readers have been engaged in this type of reading, from a digital perspective, for over ten years. I mean, it's what we did with paper books, only now we have less bulky formats, and a bigger library. The fact that we have the ability to read, what we want to read, when we want to read them, empowers readers. And I am not the only one who embraces this freedom...by reading.
I find I have different books going on different devices. I read this book on my iPhone. I read another on my iPad. I read yet another on my Kindle -- this is usually my main, big book. Whatever the situation, I always have a book with me, so I am always reading. I hear this same thing from other readers...and people I wouldn't peg as readers.
As a reader, do you enjoy short fiction? Why would you suggest to read it?
I adore short fiction. As a writer, I am in awe of those who can write a story in a condensed, complete, provocative manner. As a reader, my mind is blown for the same reasons. Anticipating the next question, but giving a different answer, I say read Flannery O'Connor or Raymond Carver, then ask me this question. Heck, even Hemingway...and I am not a Hemingway fan.
Short fiction, when it is well done, is often more profound than full-length fiction. To this day, I remember my response to Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. Shock, pain, fear, disbelief, inevitability (knowing how story works, though, that first time, I was too young to know how story worked). I feel the same sensation when I reread it. I feel the same sensation when I think about it. Do I see parallels, intentional or not, in The Hunger Games? Of course, but Jackson's story hits me in the gut in a way the Hunger Games never could. Different stories, of course, but when it comes to punches in the gut, one clearly wins.
If you would like to suggest a short fiction you loved, you're welcome!
In addition to those mentioned above, I am a Nine Stories addict. I reread random stories from that book constantly. J.D. Salinger hit all the right notes for me as a reader, and the fact that it spoke to me at age sixteen and speaks to me at [a much, much older age] says so much about the power of a great story. I wish that more books/stories inspired such dedication in me, as a reader. For me, the sign of a great story is something I want to revisit over the years.
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