shining the spotlight on short story collections
The short-story loving folk at Comma Press have created a section on their website entitled “The Short Story: theory and practice” because, they say:
“as a publisher and champion of the short story, it is encumbent on Comma to encourage debate – both critically and constructively – about the current state of the form, and where contemporary styles and practices fit in with its wider development. Over the next few months Comma will set out to gather around this website some of the many short story resources already in the public domain, through links and mp3s, in the hope that practice and further debate will lead from it.”
Those interested in learning more will find articles on the three types of short story, the evolution of these three types of story, genre anatomies, and a reading list of short stories and essays on short stories. This is still under construction, but it is shaping up to be a very valuable resource. Click here to see what there is so far.
Sam J Miller’s essay, Where the Readers Are, in The Quarterly Conversation, takes issue with Stephen King’s “autopsy on the American short story” in his much-blogged-about introduction to the latest edition of Best American Short Stories. Says Miller:
The crux of his overall argument is this: audiences are shrinking; literary journals are poised at the brink of irrelevance because they’ve grown too expensive and too poorly distributed to appeal to anyone but writers; the stories themselves are “airless,” “show-offy,” “self-referring,” “self-important,” and “self-conscious.” Although there’s evidence to support all these claims, King tries to tie them all together to prop up his thesis that the short story is “ailing,” which feels like a stretch. What’s definitely true is this: the traditional infrastructure that has linked short stories and audiences is undergoing a massive transformation. But death throes sounds melodramatic, and a little gleeful.
On a more positive note, a new link to another place to find book reviews: Chroma.
And upcoming deadlines for short story collection competitions:
The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award – March 31st.
Diagram’s Chapbook contest – April 1st
Get those collections sent in. Good luck!