So, in honor of the shortest month of the year … how do you feel about short stories? Love them? Prefer them to novels?
I like them. I don’t think I have any inherent preference for short stories over novels or vice versa, but I do have a more writer-based preference. For example, I’ve been working through the Portable James Joyce and prefer his short fiction over his novels. Similarly, I prefer Neil Gaiman’s novels over his short fiction, mostly because I prefer the complexity and depth of things like American Gods. Depending on the book, I think Stephen King does short fiction better than novels, too, just because I think his novels can get overly dense and he has a habit of including too much exposition, whereas his short fiction gets right to the point and tends to be interesting, unnerving, and effective. And I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I also have a very strong preference for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short fiction over his novels–specifically, I think the story “Rappaccini’s Daughter” is so, so good and so much more interesting with much better writing than The Scarlet Letter.