Do short story creds matter?

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casnow
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Do short story creds matter?

Post by casnow » March 2nd, 2010, 10:47 am

Does anyone have an opinion on how important it is to have short story credentials? Obviously something in the New Yorker is more important than a pub in Obscure Literary Monthly, but at what point does something really matter to agents or editors.

How many of you would say that writing/publishing short stories (not collections, but one offs) is a priority for you?

Sometimes I get the feeling that even though I'm not psyched about short stories (I'm a novel length type of guy) that I should try to get a few published just to say I have. Does anyone else feel that way?

r louis scott
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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by r louis scott » March 2nd, 2010, 10:50 am

I'm reminded of a quote from Miss Snark:

"A writing credit tells an agent that someone besides your mother thinks you don't suck."

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Seamus
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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by Seamus » March 2nd, 2010, 11:51 am

r louis scott wrote:I'm reminded of a quote from Miss Snark:

"A writing credit tells an agent that someone besides your mother thinks you don't suck."
NOW I see my problem.
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Ryan
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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by Ryan » March 2nd, 2010, 11:55 am

If you are "platform-less" then getting a few short stories published would be a good thing for sure. I would imagine a few creds at the end of a query would help a little bit especially if the story already raised the agent's brow.

I've found that short stories help hone the skills and it feels good to actually FINISH something.
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marilyn peake
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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by marilyn peake » March 2nd, 2010, 4:28 pm

I definitely feel that short stories have expanded my opportunities as a writer. I’ve had quite a few short stories published in anthologies, and a couple of short stories published with their own book covers. This has greatly expanded my total number of publications, many of the anthologies have received awards, and a couple of reviewers have become fans of a series of anthologies in which I’ve had short stories published (the TWISTED TAILS series). You can see on my website that I’ve had three novels published, plus many more publications due to the anthologies: http://www.marilynpeake.com. Also, it was great fun writing the short stories!
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by tameson » March 2nd, 2010, 5:00 pm

If you like shorts and you can write them, then do it. But if you hate reading short stories and you hate writing them, then I don't see what benefit they will do for you. I rarely enjoy writing short stories. So, I don't. I don't read them, I don't write them. Except, every once in a while, I'll get sucked in with some idea that will only work as a short story and I'll go for it. Or I will realize that there is something I want to try and I don't want to waste a novel figuring out it is fundamentally flawed. If I enjoyed them more, I would do them more.

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HillaryJ
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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by HillaryJ » March 2nd, 2010, 11:38 pm

My understanding is that they can be helpful, especially when you're cold-querying. They show that you are productive and that you have passed through an editor's screening process.

Now, having said that, writing a good short story is a bit different from writing a novel, but is an excellent exercise. You have a limited, sometimes very limited amount of words to tell an entire story. Short stories help you to develop tension, character and resolution quickly, which in turn can help you identify overwritten portions of novels (at least, that's what they have helped me with).
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casnow
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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by casnow » March 3rd, 2010, 12:21 am

I like writing FlashFiction length stuff and novel length stuff... which is what I like reading as well. I guess that makes me a bit bipolar

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Ryan
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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by Ryan » March 3rd, 2010, 1:17 am

Here's a place to submit. The woman who helped me edit the first four chapters of my memoir started this quarterly online journal/annual print anthology with some of her colleagues.

Ink Filled Page-http://inkfilledpage.com/

Unfortunately there is no pay, but that doesn't mean it's easy. They get a lot of submissions. The good thing is you still own the rights to the piece so you can continue to submit it elsewhere. I was paid $100 for a different anthology and they own the piece for like 7 years or something. It was an essay about cooking and a a tribute to my Mom. I'd rather give them back the $100 and still be able to submit the piece. That said, I've kept the check laying out just to look at it. :)

Ink Filled Page accepts non-fiction and fiction. The essay they accepted is an all time favorite of mine, Man's Best Friend--an ode to laughter. http://thechinproject.wordpress.com/200 ... estfriend/

It's on my list of things to do to submit more essays and short stories, but researching where to send your stuff is a full time job. Sometimes magazines want friggin' query letters for your short stories.
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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by Nathan Bransford » March 3rd, 2010, 5:04 pm

Short story credits can help, and obviously the more prestigious the journal the better, but ultimately in queries I'm mainly focusing on the project at hand.

kristi
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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by kristi » March 4th, 2010, 10:28 pm

I considered writing short stories just so I'd have a publication to list in my query letter. Alas, my heart wasn't in it and I couldn't make myself do it, so I'll be sending out queries with a teeny, tiny third paragraph. Oh well, we'll see what happens.

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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by r louis scott » March 4th, 2010, 11:20 pm

kristi wrote:I considered writing short stories just so I'd have a publication to list in my query letter. Alas, my heart wasn't in it and I couldn't make myself do it, so I'll be sending out queries with a teeny, tiny third paragraph. Oh well, we'll see what happens.

I don't know, kristi, it is probably worse to put your heart into it and write a short story and then never find it a home. It is somehow more small, more pitiful, than the novel tucked back underneath the bed. Like the runt of the litter that never knows love.

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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by kristi » March 5th, 2010, 12:30 am

r louis scott wrote:
kristi wrote:I considered writing short stories just so I'd have a publication to list in my query letter. Alas, my heart wasn't in it and I couldn't make myself do it, so I'll be sending out queries with a teeny, tiny third paragraph. Oh well, we'll see what happens.

I don't know, kristi, it is probably worse to put your heart into it and write a short story and then never find it a home. It is somehow more small, more pitiful, than the novel tucked back underneath the bed. Like the runt of the litter that never knows love.
Geez, that's so sad. I haven't put my heart into something that hasn't worked out for the best -- at least, so far. I'm a chronic optimist though. Hope all your work finds a home! :)

r louis scott
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Re: Do short story creds matter?

Post by r louis scott » March 5th, 2010, 11:44 am

That's just the way it is, kristi. Unless you are writing mystery or science fiction or maybe children's, there really aren't all that many outlets these days for short fiction. There are a few of the literary ones but I'm a storyteller and therefore don't fit well there. When you research on duotrope and find all these places that say they take historicals and then look a little harder, you find that they have never actually published any, so why bother submitting?

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