Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown
By: Stacey Purcell
I wish I could say that I wrote those two sentences in the title of my blog, but I didn’t. They were written by the amazingly talented Joss Whedon who also wrote Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Firefly. This is a wonderful example of a short story. A really, really short story. It is said that Ernest Hemingway wrote one using only six words. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” He also claimed that it was his best piece in a very large body of work.
Short stories are on the rise in popularity. So much so, Amazon is attributing this burgeoning market to pushing their stock up to above $200 a share.
That’s a pretty good statistic. If that didn’t get your attention, try this. David Baldacci recently wrote a short story called No Time Left. It sold 50,000 copies in its first week! Times are changing and we need to be flexible enough to change with it. It wasn’t so long ago that the only way to sell short stories was to bundle them together and sell them in an anthology or to sell them to a magazine. It was a slowly dying breed. Things are different now!
Short stories have caught on everywhere and I want to be a part of that market. Last week, I shared with you about my “mash up” experience. Three of my friends and I have taken turns putting together a story. No plans. No talking about it. Just write and see where it goes.
Now, we’re trying to figure out the best way to edit and re-write the parts that need help. This is proving to be a bit difficult. Finding common free-time in four very active adults’ schedules is next to impossible. Plan No. 2- We’re going to edit in the same round table fashion as we wrote it. I’ll keep you posted with our success…or maybe there will be Plan No. 3. Regardless of the plan chosen to do the painful edits, it’s been a fun and very creative moment for our group, The Usual Suspects. We’re hoping to put it up for sale as soon as it’s polished.
So what is a short story? It’s a story that can, obviously, have very few words. That being said, the six word tale won’t be a hot selling commodity any time soon. The typical short story can be found to have anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 ish words. They represent all genres and seem to sell really well for $0.99.
An author friend of mine has an e-publisher that only handles her short stories and she produces one every other month. Over time, she will have quite an inventory of product out there! She was also smart enough to write groups of stories around different themes so she could easily compile them into anthologies. That’s good writing and good marketing! Those stories will be a source of solid income over the next several years as the desire to have well written stories people can easily read on their phone or e-reader increases. The Director, Hamish Hamilton, at Simon Prosser Publishing stated, “The short story form is better suited to the demands of modern life than the novel.”
This phenomenon is not just happening in the U.S., it’s very popular in the U.K. A British newspaper called The Sunday Times has begun the EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.
That’s a pretty good prize. And if that didn’t get your attention, then I give up!