No, of course, short stories are not common; they are
and only sometimes a little boring.
They have one thing in common, though:
they are short,
often around ten to twenty pages. Short-short stories hold, as the name suggests, even fewer words and pages.
(Certain literary guidelines determine the exact word count cut-off for short stories and any interested reader can google them.)
In the times of “way back when,” newspapers and magazines published the occasional short story, not to be confounded with regular articles. Otherwise, short stories showed up in contests, anthologies, and yearly compilation books where connoisseurs could find them.
In other words, the short story market was and is very narrow, and I despaired over this fact, for I love writing short stories and like people to read them.
You see, for a writer with ADD tendencies, it is not easy to pursue a plot for weeks and months, with side plots and great numbers of characters, in order to write a full-size book. A short story is much better adapted to a mind that comes up with new story ideas every few days or so; simpler, straight forward stories, without the sophistication found in a novel. I always had great pleasure creating and writing these short bits of prose but, as mentioned above, the short story market was so narrow that novices like me had very little hope to find a door in.
Technology came as my savior.
Indeed, with computer technology arrived the internet; with the internet came, first, websites for which content writers are needed, such as company websites and informative pages, and finally there were blogs! Whether blog sites cater to a company or a product, or simply provide a hang-out for writers, one could always count on potential readers.
Talking of readers: technology has also shaped people’s reading habits. Instead of expecting – and reading – full size books (or short stories nineteen pages long), the average reader’s attention span seems to have shrunk to a primal size, the size of a short to medium blog, or short to medium news article. Any written material on the internet that exceeds a few “scroll down” motions is likely to be only scanned at best, or not read at all beyond the headline and picture caption.
Technology has opened new and interesting jobs for writers like me. What might dismay investigative journalists who write long and intricate pieces, or book store owners and publishing houses, constitutes a blessing to me (and any other creative short story writer) since, now, I only need to keep my stories extra short for them to fit the readers’ wishes.
And since the interweb is worldwide,
SOMEone will always read them…