You should buy and read short story magazines. For lots of reasons.
The selfish reason first – I write short stories. The more people who buy and read short story magazines, the more money these magazines have for acquiring work and the more likely they are to buy mine.
But here’s the other reasons. Short stories are, perhaps, the best way to get into reading fiction. People who feel unsure about reading books will find that the shorter lengths (as few as 100 words, sometimes!) are less opressive. Because they’re short, people can read them in a few spare minutes in their busy days.
Short story magazines are cheap. Usually cheaper than a book for dozens of seperate stories!
And they’re complete stories, with characters and a plot arc and all the things you love from TV and video-games, but there’s no unnecessary extras. Just the story.
Short story magazines cover all genres and interests. Upset that there aren’t enough fairy-tale retellings in the bookstores? There’ll be a magazine you can read.
As for why you should pay for them? Well, there are plenty of brilliant free ones out there, it’s true (I suggest popping over to 101 fiction for good, very short pieces, and not just because a story of mine will be going up there soon) but the competition for writers to get into the paying market is fierce. Which means you get the best of the best. The brilliant ones.
So, you’ll be supporting the careers of writers, ensuring hard working creatives get paid, and enjoying yourself at the same time. Win win!
Some of my favourites:
Most of these publish spec fic, as that’s what I like to read and write. Some publish literary or have a small niche.
If you want to read short stories and don’t know where to start, a good place to look is duotrope. It exists mainly as a way for writers to keep track of submissions, but you can search it for specific genres and sub-genres, and you may well find a magazine you like that way.
No matter how hard you work or how good you think your work is, you are not entitled to representation or a publishing contract. This is a business, not a sponge-bath for your ego. If an agent doesn’t think they can sell your work, or a publisher doesn’t think they can make money on it, they will reject it. Accept that.
You are certainly not allowed to assault a literary agent because your work is rejected, and if you have any sympathy with the man assaulting her you are a shitty human being and you can unfollow me right fucking now.
Cross-posted on my other blogs to boost signal.
You cannot have a story without conflict. I’m not talking about big battle set-pieces or epic arguemnts, necessarily, but of conflict in genereal. Very simply, to have a story, a character needs to want something, and something else needs to get in their way.
How much freedom does that give the author? How much freedom does that give the reader? As a reader, no matter what your tastes, there will be a type of conflict to suit you. Romance usually feaures conflict between desire and practicality. Fantasy can feature conflict between anything and anything else.
The best stories usually have two layers of conflict though. They have the personal conflict effecting the characters – this is what makes us root for them (or not!). Then there’s a bigger conflict laid over the top of that. Surviving the apocalypse. Fighting the oppressive regime. Taking your pervy boss to court. Keeping the farm. Something big, somehting where the stakes are even higher than the small conflict.
The brilliant authors, the ones we remember, tie those conflicts together and make them mirror each other. The girl surviving the apocalypse at all costs finds a stash of food and weapons – but there’s a village she knows of that needs it. If she gives it up, she might die, if she doesn’t they WILL die. Complicating matter, she wants to bone one of the men in that village, and her feelings make her weak… Tha’s shit, but do you see? How combining two or more conflicts make a book deeper, a story more engrossing?
My favourite books in the whole wide world do that.
It dissapoints me when I read a book with little or no inner conflict. Where the characters are always right and don’t change, and where their fighting for things always comes right after an appropriate amount of struggle. It feels weak. It feels pointless.
Make your characters work for it. Make them struggle. Make them weep and laugh and strive and hate and love and change.
As well as loving books, I also love games.
But this isn’t a blog about games! It’s a blog about books!
Which is why all my yammering about games is kept far away from here, over on PlanetIvy.com. If you like games, you should check out my articles – and while you’re at it, check out the rest of the magazine as well.
I really let this slide. Things got a bit carried away and keeping up with blog became a lot more difficult. With that in mind, the nature of the blog is changing – I wills till be talking about how much I love books 9so much, you guys) but I will also be posting weekly flash fiction and details about my success in publishing as well.
Don’t worry, it’ll never become just an ordinary, boring book blog.
On cold, rainy days when you don’t have to work, there is nothing better than a book. I have a tendency to wrap myself in a quilt on the sofa, use the fact that it’s raining as an excuse not to go for a run (My ankles are weak and I might twist one!) put on the TV to something like The Mentalist – something I can enjoy and follow with only a quarter of my attention – and read something. Usually not a new book, but something I’ve read a dozen times before. Something comforting.
However, my choices on the comforting may seem odd to other people, so I will explain them here. This will be very dull unless you enjoy people gushing about books and writers, and if you don’t – why are you reading this blog?
So, below the cut, I will explain.
Well, this is going to be a bit of a nerd girl cliche, really, but when I was around nine, I fell in love with Aragorn. Most teen or preteen girls are getting those first all-consuming crushes on an actor, or maybe an animated character, someone whose face you can actually see. But not me. I crushed on a man whose face I would never see, a man who was nothing more than ink on paper.
It would never have worked out. We just came from two different worlds, and besides, there was the whole Arwen thing.
In that I am also, obviously, a writer. Perhaps it’s a thing. When you love reading and books so much, perhaps it’s natural that you want to write, bring some of that joy you felt to another person.
I NEED TO STOP GOING OFF TOPIC SO FUCKING MUCH.
I am a writer, as yet unpublished by anything more than a few non-paying webzines and the like (you can see my published works up there). This is fine! I’m at the start of my career. Now, one thing I don’t want this blog to be is yet-another-unpublished-writer-talking-about-writing blog. There’s only room for a few of those, and they are dull, so I promise to keep writing chatter down to a minimum (though I will tell you when I get published things and the like).
But what I would like to do is occasionally- very occassionally – post some of my shorter works that I don’t think I can find a market for on this blog. These will be things I like that, for one reason or another, I don’t think I can get published by someone else. You will not be getting my shitty rough drafts, but it’ll be something else for you to read other than my self-indulgent writing about books.
Also, it’s a way fro you to tell me what I suck at, and for me to practice my skills, and perhaps a way for me to see where I can improve. Also, if I have a schedule (1 a week/fortnight/month) I’ll get more into writing regularly as I should.
Do you like the idea? Would you keep reading, or go away?