How Old Was The Boy In The Movie The Ring Is the Short Story Dead?

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Is the Short Story Dead?

A reader likes to get his claws into a good book. The bigger the better because you never want the story to end. The world is full of great books; some brilliant, some good, some bad, and some just a waste of time. I remember reading one and getting to page 150 of 1123 and throwing the book in the corner. It’s still lying down.

Some stories are so big that it takes several volumes to tell the story. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it gives the author a lot of room to play with and a massive canvas to paint his landscapes and characters on. They have plenty of time to make their point. I am in no way saying that the longer the story the easier it is to tell far from it. The long story can be very complex.

Let me put it this way. Imagine a boxing ring and two boxers going at each other. One fighter throws punch after punch after punch and continues the entire match. In the last round, he swings to the right and knocks his opponent to the mat. That’s the equivalent of a long story. Lots of action with a knockout finish.

Now imagine the same match only this time when the bell rings to signal the start of the first round, one fighter delivers a single, earth-shattering blow, knocking his opponent out of the ring itself.

In my opinion, that’s how a short story should be. Long story short, because you don’t have too much time with the characters, it should have the ability to hit you for six in a very short amount of time. Unfortunately, a lot of the short stories I read are not good. They lack character and make me want to throw it in the bin after the first few pages. A short story should grab you from the first sentence.

I often wonder who agrees to publish these short stories and even pay for them. Cemetery Danse (and I’m a huge fan of Cemetery Danse) published a few short stories in their magazine that left me confused. I got to the end and wondered what it was even doing there. I didn’t get the point. I couldn’t understand what the story was about, much less what I was supposed to get out of it. Even if the story is off to a slow start, it should at least have a great ending.

It really bothers me that publishers and editors cry so much about great stories, but some of the stories they publish are in my eyes, and I’m sure in many people’s eyes, a complete waste of time.

A short story must be enjoyable to read. Quick shot. Perhaps the publisher and editor would think carefully about this when accepting short stories.

You never know, we might get some good ones for a change. The short story isn’t as popular as it used to be in part because people have lost interest in them, but that doesn’t mean they’re dead. All we need are a few good ones.

An example of this is Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. A collection of some of the best short stories. Or Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew featuring the highly acclaimed story ‘The Mist’, recently made into a film.

I can accept that every now and then you’ll get a short story that’s just nonsense, but I don’t accept that most of what I read today is a waste of time.

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