The short story went into decline when so many of the magazines that supported them died. That is not to say there are not short story magazines around from the prestigious New Yorker and possibly Harper’s to the leading newcomer Amazon for online stories. But in the main the rest of them now cater for science fiction and horror which narrows the horizons for most aspiring short story writers. That said there are a number of online publishers of short stories but few of them pay and for those that do the remuneration is hardly worthwhile.
Many dismiss the short story in favour of the novel which is understandable for in comparative terms one is a full blown dinner while the other is just a snack. That said the creation of a good short story requires just as much skill as a novel, possibly even more, as there is less room for mistakes. A novel can survive a sloppy passage or run the risk of boring the reader provided his interest can be recaptured in the next chapter. While the short story can afford no such luxury, for it must grab the readers attention at the very start, hold it through the middle and satisfy it with a solid conclusion, often within the confines of two to three thousand words. The novel is a mansion in comparison with many rooms some magnificent and some more mundane, whereas the short story though a humble cottage must be spic and span throughout with great pictures and highly polished copperware.
Masters of the short story include Poe, Fitzgerald, Flannery, O'Connor, Hemingway, Carver, Cheever and O’Henry. But every writer should give it a try, if nothing else it will enhance their writing discipline and probably improve their paragraphs. I have tried to emulate these great writers in my own humble way with a published ebook called A Case of Black Rock and other stories on Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0056NU8YY where readers can sample it for free. Hopefully some will like what they read and go on to buy the book, which of course is the reason for this blog.