Monday, June 11, 2012

How I Came to Write This Book: Sandra Seamans



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.


Paul D Brazill said...

A SPLENDID short story writer.

K. A. Laity said...

I'm digging into the collection and loving it. Hurrah for short story writers!

Anonymous said...

Well, you don't have to sell me, Sandra. I read a minimum of one short story every day (usually more than that) and have done since August of 1995. (Total this year to date: 266.) And the large majority of them have been mysteries.

I have your book to be read Real Soon Now.

Jeff M.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Thanks for hosting Sandra.

Sandra - Short stories are great. I enjoy reading them and I'm glad you write 'em.

F.T. Bradley said...

I always love Sandra's short stories :-) Great to hear you make the case for short fiction--it's my favorite reading as well.

Al Tucher said...

Wise words from one of the best!

Chris Rhatigan said...

Tell it like it is!

It's impossible to pick my favorite short, but I'll try anyway... How about "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I cannot think of a better one than A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND by Flannery O'Connor.

Charles Gramlich said...

Good to hear from someone who loves short stories. I do too. I do like writing novels as well. At least I've found that to be so. But short stories are still such a labor of love.

sandra seamans said...

Nice to see how many people love shorts!

And yes, Patti, all I have to do is see that title and I can hear the grandmother's voice in my head.

Thanks for all the kind comments and a special thanks to Patti for hosting me.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

I never understood why conventional wisdom says mystery readers don't read shorts. I was still reading Nancy Drew mysteries when my parents subscribed to EQMM and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. That was my true intro to the genre. Pick one? Really? Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery."

Ron Scheer said...

Don't have an absolute favorite, but TWO BOTTLES OF RELISH comes to mind.