Short fiction in newspapers?

August 29, 2008
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Publishers Weekly reports that the Rocky Mountain News has decided to start publishing fiction in its newspaper. Specifically, original short stories. See story here.

On the surface, fiction might seem no more out of place in a newspaper than comics or the Jumble. And let's not forget that Charles Dickens and others helped boost newspaper readership back in the day with serial novels.

But that's when there was excess space to fill. These days, with, less and less news in newspapers, do you think this is a good use of precious space? Or is it a wise way to attempt to bring readers back into the fold?

Side question: Honestly, when was the last time you read a short story that wasn't a school writing assignment?

And what would you like to see in your daily newspaper that isn't there?

Your thoughts?
  • Hmm. Well, the IBJ has become my daily newspaper because I check your blog daily and then, while I'm here, look around the IBJ website to see what else is going on. I find this website easier to use than other local papers', although I do check them, too.

    It was strange for me, at first, to think of going to a business publication to get my A&E fix, but really, it makes a lot of sense. I am a consumer of art, professional artists are producers and marketers of product with responsibilities to their stake-holders...

    Maybe there is a place for short fiction here, too, simply because pretty much everyone is in some form of business and/or is affected by businesses, and at the same time, everyone wants to think of him- or herself as well-rounded. People who don't want to make time to read a whole novel might welcome the chance to read a short story. There's a lot to be said for the completion high, after all.

    That said...although I love novels, I rarely read short pieces of fiction unless I somehow know the author in real life - maybe I have heard him speak at a conference, for example - or I loved all of her longer pieces.

    I'll be curious to see how others respond.

    Hope Baugh
  • Short fiction is a hard niche. There are some amazing short stories writers out there and it's not easy for mainstream readers to find them. I tend to often read short stories in anthologies. In fact one of my most anticipated books right now is an upcoming short story collection by Loren Estleman entitled Valentino: Film Detective. (Alas, there's no pub date for it yet!)

    Another source are magazines designed specifically to short stories. I often read Elery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock which are the two major ones for the mystery genre. Those publications have been around for years and years. Today's top writers and impressive newcomers are often seen there.

    So I would welcome short stories in newspapers. It seems like you can find news almost everywhere nowadays, but short stories don't have that range yet.
  • What the local press doesn't cover well is the huge number of talented writers and poets in and around this city, especially poets. I would love to open the pages of my morning paper and see poems and short stories written by local writers. Right now I get that kind of material only at the local book stores...Borders, B&N, etc. I want to know more about our talented writers, poets, painters, actors, actresses, singers, and the local newspaper is the best vehicle to provide that kind of information.
  • And this is different from what is normally published, how??
  • Good short stories are hard to find. So is great journalism. Maybe the two could mix. The Gary Post-Tribune formerly ran a contest for 50-word short stories. It was a hit. Many fine stories. Fifty words was the absolute limit. No more. Nothing less. That's precisely what I have here.
  • I've read quite a bit of good short fiction lately including a mystery collection entitled Racing Can Be Murder (Finalist for the Best Fiction Book of Indiana), and I have also enjoyed the short fiction of Hoosier writers like Mike Martone, Dick Wolfsie and many others. But will it sell newspapers? I think it will if the stories take advantage of the local talent writting stories relevant to local themes.
  • Short stories in newspapers? Is that any better than the Star's
  • fiction in newspapers
    I published a short story in the Star Ledger of New Jersey. They pay well and I got many comments on the story, very satisfying to author, readers, and the Ledger.

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