"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Monday, June 18, 2007

On the Short Story - Form and Viability

A friend sent this link from the Independent Online.

I agree that people do like stories, maybe not as much as novels (speaking for myself), but the problem for publishers is how to promote a collection of them. There's no rollicking main story with sexy characters, threatening situations and satisfying conclusions. Rather, the whole situation changes every few pages, and big publicity machines are just gearing up. We need some innovative publicity (see Miranda July's website for her new book).

I do miss seeing stories in some of the magazines that used to carry them, but I seldom like the New Yorker's fiction selections, whereas the nonfiction rocks. I wonder if anyone does like New Yorker stories, in general. There is the occasional selction I love, but not every week. Is there anyone out there turning first to the stories and liking most of them? I'm afraid the NYer editors would sooner leave them out than change their selection criteria -- among which, first refusal contracts, which mean that they buy some stories to keep them out of competitor's hands -- but who are the competitors anyway, and, stories by authors with books about to come out. One gets the sense that the New Yorker sees itself as featuring literary news rather than merely good stories.

No comments: