I have been reading and listening a lot about how to get more lit-cred as a writer. As you know, I've been writing a novel for the past 2.5 years. But now, apparently short stories is one of the main avenues to build credibility as a writer and to publish a novel.
It wasn't too long ago when I was hearing that short stories were dead. Everyone was ready to nail the coffin shut, but they have been revived at the last minute. I am not sure why, but all I know is that I need to write them. I am not much of a short story reader. I do have a couple anthologies on my Paperwhite, one of Lovecraft's stories and the other of Weird stories from the past 100 years called The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories. They are massive tomes and I only read one or two between novels. So, short stories do not come naturally to me. Funny enough, when reading short stories, I prefer short short stories. Long short stories tend to become tedious for me; it's either short shorts or epic novels.
Publishers/Agents look for what you have already published when deciding to publish/represent your novel, and short stories are what they tend to look for now. If you have a few short stories professionally published (paid $0.05 or up per word), then that bodes well. I have no stories published yet. I wrote one story that I am now submitting to the appropriate magazines. I got rejected once, as expected, and still waiting to hear from the next one I submitted to. if I get rejected from that, I'll look it over, do some revisions, and send it to another zine until I get it published. I am brainstorming another short now, which I will also send off as well.
It is a bit overwhelming as an unpublished writer. Now I have to worry about writing short stories and getting them published while working on my novel. It's not easy switching from big ideas that only fit in novel form to concise micro plots for short stories. I know many writers do this and hopefully I will end up getting used to writing in both forms. My predicament fits that cliché; "outside the comfort zone". So, I'm taking this as a challenge to become a more well-rounded writer.