(This is part “Three Questions With Xxxx”. If you’re interested in taking part click here and fill out the form.)
Jeff and I have been friends for years. He was part of the staff at Flying Island Press and his love of the short story form is nigh legendary.
1) You’ve written a lot of short fiction and have been an editor in the short fiction market. That makes you something of an expert in my book. What is it that you love so much about the format?
Short fiction gives you just a glimpse, just a taste of a world, but when it is done right, it gives you the whole story, in a format that you can easily digest in one sitting. I really enjoy that part of it. I think some of it comes from having a busy life, some of it comes from my short attention span, and some of it just comes from being able to get the whole story in one shot. Make no mistake I like really in depth stories, and really enjoy novel length stories but there is just something about the shorter stories that draw me to them.
Why do I write them? Well, I think that is simple, because of all the reasons above, and one more, they challenge me to fit an entire story into a small package. I have to cut all the fluff, and all the extra stuff, and just tell a story, and I like doing that.
2) It’s not a great paying market these days, though there are ways to sell them. Why do you think that is?
It really comes down to delivery method. The short answer is ebooks and podcasts. It is more complicated than that, but really it is the ability to publish a single short story and get it out there, that was really not available 10-15 years ago. Before the popularity of ebooks and podcasts, if you wanted to sell a short story you had to go to a magazine, Of which there were very few, and their slush piles must have been huge, because publishing and printing a short story yourself just didn’t make any sense economically. Now you can write a short story and publish it yourself in ebook format. To the end “user” there is no difference other than cost, between buying a short story or buying a novel length work. Now that these outlets exist, there is a market for them, and you can see that in the rise in the number of emagizines, that just didn’t exist 15 years ago, and short fiction podcasts such as the Escape Artist series, The DrabbleCast and even Cast of Wonders, they, while “free” to the consumer, are paying markets.
3) In moving from writing short fiction to longer form fiction what are the challenges you face?
I really like longer stories. I love the way that you can dive into someone else’s world and get completely lost. That is the great thing about novel length works. And short fiction is not just a shorten version of a novel length work. I think that idea has been the hardest one for me to over come. As I have said many times before, I am a, “by the seat of your pants” writer. I very often have no idea of what a story is actually going to be about when I start writing it. That presents a real problem when you start to write long works. You have to not only know where the story is going, but also be able to hold all of those ideas in your head while you are writing. See my above note about short attention span, and just repeat that here about 5 times. Most of my short fiction works are under 10,000 words. That length I can keep in my head without notes, longer than that I have to keep some sort of notes, and referring back to those notes while I am writing or editing, really kills my momentum. So learning to control a story, and plan it out have been my biggest challenges when working on longer works.
I am a little busy right now, please leave a message at the beep?
But I am really busy..
Still not buying it huh?
Ok then I guess…
Jeff Hite, A.K.A. The Dark Lord Hite, A.K.A. Dr. Evil-n-Carnate, A.K.A. Steve Wolencheck, current occupant of cubical 3257J, affectionately referred to as “that jerk who eats lunch in his cubicle even though we have a lunch room and he really should eat there,” is first and foremost a husband and father. He and his wife and their ten minions I mean children, live in their orbiting space station. No, that burned up in the atmosphere last year. They live in their undersea lab. No, that is not right either, it fell to crush depth three months ago. Well where ever they live that is where you can find them.
By day he is an IT professional, by night When he and his partner in crime, Alex the 486 Beowulf Super cluster are not trying to take over the world they run the “sheep dating service,” also known as sheep breeding, for the local farming cooperative. When he can fit it in he writes short fiction about the fantastic, is a reader with Cast Of Wonders, and an assistant audio producer for Get Published.
He and his alter ego Michell Plested are Co editors of A Method To the Madness: A Guide To the Super Evil and the forthcoming book There is a Magic Portal Under My Sink.
He and his wife home school their minions, I mean kids and teach NFP to anyone who will listen. The rest of his life is devoted to his first love, his family, their chickens, sheep, dogs and now to appease the cat owners, one of those as well.
A Method To the Madness: A Guide To the Super Evil
There is a Magic Portal Under My Sink
Cast of Wonders
Get Published (Audio Production)
Flying Island Press