FOR THE LOVE OF SHORTS
By Sandra Seamans
It ain't easy being a short story writer, especially in the mystery/crime genre. Why you ask? Because mystery readers don't read short stories, only novels. Because there’s no money in writing mystery shorts, only novels. Because there are no markets for mystery short stories, only novels. Because mystery shorts are too hard to write, novels are easier. Trash talk? Of course it is. But this is what keeps getting regurgitated year after year in the mystery community.
Well, I stand here before you an unrepentant short story writer and damn proud of it. So why short stories? Maybe because I’m old enough to start collecting social security and have a short attention span? Nah. I write shorts because I love the form. I love how a short story keeps the telling simple. One story, no side trips. I love that I can experiment with the genre by mixing in bits of other genres like fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. I love that I can sit down at the computer and in the space of an hour or two have a rough draft to play around with. And believe it or not, I love that every time I get myself psyched to write the great American novel it always turns into a short story.
“Cold Rifts” is my belief in a world that reads and loves short stories. That readers, even of mysteries, find short stories a perfect fit with their reading tastes. I believe that short stories hit harder and deeper into the hearts of readers. That they have a lasting effect. You’re a reader, aren’t you? So, share your favorite short with us. I’ll give you one of mine. Harlan Ellison’s “Soft Monkey”. A sweet mixture of crime and horror.
Your turn. C’mon, you know you want to. Step up and admit that you’re a short story reader, too. There’s no shame in loving short stories.