Thursday, March 08, 2007

African Short Stories

from the diary: “Thursday 8/14/86

“I lay around today reading African Short Stories.”

This probably is the anthology edited by Chinua Achebe & C. L. Innes. Can’t know for sure cuz I didn’t list author or publisher in the diary. Nor did I say anything about it, any of the usual critical commentary like “good” or “liked”.

I was trying to write short stories and I was reading short story anthologies in hopes reading stories would help my own. If you want to be a writer, declared several advisors (mostly how-to books), you should start by writing short stories. Short stories not only are good training for building a narrative, capturing character, developing a style, but they are a lot easier to sell than a novel. If you grow a career in short fiction publishers & agents will come calling. We see you can write, they will say. Show us your novel.


David Lee Ingersoll said...

I wonder how much validity that advice has anymore? At least as far as helping you get published? There's so little market for short fiction anymore.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Like most advice it's probably true enough. But, also like most advice, you don't keep at it unless it seems like your own idea and the fact that somebody else said it first merely a pretty coincidence.

Note I didn't say, "Short stories are a way to make a living as a writer." It wasn't true twenty years ago either.

There is more money in stories than in poetry. The difference between giving it away and getting thrown an occasional bent dime.