The Quality of Short Stories (is impressive)

Men want a lady in the streets but a vixen in the sheets.

Readers want a poet in the short stories but trash in the novels.

Case in point: In my research and experience on short stories, it feels like you can get away with “bad writing” in novels. Case in point: E.L. James, Twilight, and this from Colleen Hoover.

But for short stories, you need to curlicue and detail every sentence until it shines like an insane piece of art made by an autistic person.

I guess people who write short stories (or maybe those who edit them) demand higher quality. This is what they mean when these agents say they want “prose that sings” and “characters that leap off the page and keep me reading” and nothing actually useful. They want fresh, alive, witty, and surprising. Well, wouldn’t we all?

It’s like people saying what they want in a partner. They want humor and confidence and integrity and good hygiene. But that’s so generic. Everyone is a puzzle piece that only fits with a few other pieces. What are the specific tabs and divots that need filling? Or vice versa. They have to be concrete and tangible personality traits. And really, all women want men like their fathers and men want women like their mothers.

I feel like I’m getting off-topic with this one. I guess what I’m saying is, from what I’m seeing, the skills for writing a short story don’t match up to those for writing a novel. Novels (at least commercial novels) don’t need to be fancy or eloquent. There’s a market for “bad stuff”, just the same as there’s a market for bad movies. Otherwise, services like Tubi and FreeVee wouldn’t exist.

So why doesn’t anyone want my bad stuff?

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at http://www.ericjuneaubooks.com where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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