Michelle pointed out that what she calls "realistic domestic fiction" (RDF), but which I typically just call call literary fiction, often has smaller "pay offs" than genre fiction. She's right, and most of my commentary from yesterday relates primarily to genre fiction. Michelle also points out that even "RDF" typically has some level of pay off, and that such stories are easiest to sell.
Steve points out that pay off can be very different between short stories and novels. My yesterday's comments generally were focused on short stories. As Steve suggests, the pay off in novels comes primarily from what happens to the characters (although a satisfying plot ending is important to). In short stories, we don't live with the characters very long so the ending has to develop most of it's punch from the conditions of the tale itself. Twist endings, in particular, can work well in short stories but are much harder to pull off at novel length. In fact, they usually feel like cheats in the novel.
I heard many years ago that writing short stories and writing novels are different art forms. I've never totally agreed with that thought, but there are certainly enough differences to make it difficult at times to transition between the two. I enjoy reading and writing them both. Anyone have any thoughts on this topic?