Saturday, July 25, 2009
The Problems with Single-Authored Short Story Collections
Inger Stevens reading.
I took a collection of short stories by a single author along with me when I knew I was going to be doing some waiting. Read Story One and it was a winner. Story Two, great too, but the setting was much like the one in the first one.
Story Three, now the characters are beginning to seem a little similar. All three stories on their own were winners in any book. Full of atmosphere, character, and enough plot for a short story at least.
But read one after the other, this author's stories lost something critical-- freshness and surprise.
Now I wonder why publishers don't take say three or four writers, each different in style, atmosphere and theme, and publish perhaps three stories from each of them in one volume.
Sure there are collections where every story is from a different author-but you don't get the feel of any individual author that way. They are usually the "best of" or more thematically linked.
What do you think? Would you split the royalties in order to have four of your stories in a book? Would you as a reader find this interesting? Are there single-authored collections where each or most stories are distinct or are they just not meant to be read all at once?