Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Rise of the short story

Short stories are making a comeback. In 2010 there has been a significant rise in demand for the shorter work of fiction. Two of the books in the New York Times list "10 Best Books for 2010" are short story collections.

What is short?

140 characters. Whether a tweet or a social media update as fiction, is considered fiction is marginal. However, there is a growing demand for tweetbooks in Asia, where the plot is revealed, one tweet at a time.

Hint Fiction consists of a maximum of 25 lines, excluding the title. An anthology of hint fiction published in 2010 has been receiving a lot of press, most of favourable.

Flash fiction is usually around 300 - a maximum of 500 words. The challenge with this length is to produce a narrative rather than a sketch of a character or a situation.

Short stories range in length from 1500 word through to 10,000. Mostly they are 1500 to 3,000 words long, with a few going to 5,000.

Novellas come in at around 10,000 and go through to 40,000 words or thereabouts.

So why is there a rise in the demand for shorter fiction? One cause is technology and the increased accessibility of fiction on mobile and portable equipment. It may be something to do with reduced attention spans though this is not proven in the current adult population. New publishers are setting up new format businesses where readers can access shorter works of fiction, like Quick Reads who are one of the leaders. Old publishers are creating new imprints for the shorter work, Harlequin having been at the forefront of this since 2005.

Are your reading or writing shorter fiction? Why is that?

Monday, 13 December 2010

Reading ePub and PDF books

A few of my non-fiction books are available as ebooks - currently only in the Adobe ePub format. I hope to have them moved to include Kindle during 2011.  Anyhow, I do get quite a few questions about how to access and read these ebooks from people who have downloaded the ebook as it is cheaper, not realising they need to have a means by which to read it! The biggest issue comes from corporate customers whose organisations do not allow them to download the standard Adobe Digital Editions software - reminds me of the early days of Adobe Reader which many organisations banned... No doubt sense will eventually prevail.

I found a blog post by dearauthor which covers in excellent detail the shennigans involved in getting ePub and PDF onto various readers. If you have this problem then I recommend you take a look at the post.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Plot guidelines by Meg Gardiner

The Harper Collins Crime and Thriller Workshop today was excellent. One of my highlights was a session run by crime writer Meg Gardiner on hints and tips about plot. She has generously posted the outline of this session on her blog.