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?