Sunday, December 06, 2009

Saints, School, and Stories

The Saints nearly gave me a heart attack today but somehow managed to pull out a win over Washington to go to 12 and 0 on the season. Washington helped 'em out by missing a field goal that would have put 'em up by 10 with just a couple of minutes left. But you don't make it to 12 and 0 without some luck in the NFL. As someone said, these ain't your momma's Saints. They never stop scrapping, and they have a quick strike capability that is nothing short of amazing.

In school news, we are finished with classes now and final exams start Monday. Going to be grading intensive for most of next week but after that I should be able to rest up. There's always a few humorous experiences that happen around this time of the year. I got an email Saturday from a student who has missed about a third of one of my classes asking if I'd be in my office on Saturday so "they" could explain why they've missed so much and get the information that they've missed by missing so much. I chuckled over that one for quite some time.

I'm also starting to put together a collection of my short stories for potential publication. I've got quite a lot of stories stored on my hard drive. Right now I have over 70,000 words of fantasy stories, and close to 100,000 words of horror. Quite a lot of the horror stories are vampire or vampire related, and vampires are quite popular these days. If I included samples of my poetry I'd be able to add a thousand words here and there to either collection.

Do people still read short story collections? I know I do. I just finished one collection and am reading another now. In fact, I usually have an anthology or two going. Do you think in this day and age a short story collection might be well received?


G. B. Miller said...

Not sure about the short story collections, although I am seeing quite a few of them on the new fiction shelf at my local library.

Even though I like short stories, I can never bring myself to check one the collections out, simply because (in my mind, although I could be wrong) there really isn't any common theme/plot to tie any of them together.

ivan said...

Film scripts seem to trump the short story today.
Ah, what the hell. We are all working in an obsolete medium... And yet people persist and persist. A new crop of short story writers seems to surface every year.
And we old guys are so fond of the old Martian Chronicles. But they have been set for TV as well, years ago, and effectively so.
Myself, I sure liked Updike's short stories. So crystal-clear No ambiguity. But beyond the simplicity of the tale on the printed page, there is depth and complexity.
No, I don't think the shorts story will ever die.

Evan Lewis said...

A vampire short story collection ought to be well received right now. Don't know what publishers are feeling about them, though.

Tyhitia Green said...

Definitely, Charles. Go for it. I love novels and I read short story collections as well. :-D Do it! ;-)

That student it nuts. If it was a problem that dire, they could have been excused for the semester without the bad grades. :-D Have fun.

nephite blood spartan heart said...

I keep short story collections beside the bed for a late night short read-lots of great collections from the 70's mostly (not that the stories were all written in the 70's) so I like them and if motivated I will buy new ones. But it seems like I do hear a lot on publishing/writing blogs that they are a hard sell.

Lana Gramlich said...

Hooray for finals (or more like "hooray for when finals are over," really.) I know I'll receive your anthologies quite gladly. Who else matters? ;)
Oh, and...Who dat?

X. Dell said...

I have my own funny stories about grading during exam time. If we ever meet over a beer, I'll swap mine for yours.

I understand how elated you must be with the Saints this year (after all, I'm a Bengals fan--I know yearly frustration). They now look like the dominant team in the NFC.

Saints vs. Bengals Super Bowl: whaddaya think? Who Dey vs. Who Dat.

Charles Gramlich said...

G, that's actually one of the things I like about a lot of short story collections. It's nicely varied with a lot of different kind of reads.

Ivan, I hope you're right. In fact, the super short is making a pretty good comeback on the web.

Evan Lewis, that's what I was thinking. wouldn't hurt to ride TWilight's coattails.

Demon hunter, it's like a lot of things, they let a small thing build until it's a big thing.

David J. West, yes, I've been hearing that too. I think it will mostly be a niche market probably.

Lana, yeah, you are always such a supportive sweety.

X-Dell, The Saints had a lot of bad years so I'm enjoying it for all it's worth now. Who dey? I just heard that for the first time on the NFL post game stuff tonight. Didn't know that was a Bengal chant.

SQT said...

The short-story collection giveaways are always the most popular I have on my blog.

Erik Donald France said...

That's cool on the short story collection' -- good luck. These days, who knows how where or why, when or if?

Glad the Saints won -- and the Cowboys lost. Woo-hoo!

Good luck with exams, man'

Bernita said...

Short story collections?Especially w/vampires?
Why not?

j said...

I guess you have heard it all while teaching. Glad it gave you a chuckle.

We watched part of the Saints game - a lot of excitement! It was a great weekend for football.

sage said...

i do sometimes read short stories (I have Breece PJ Pancake's book on my nightstand)... Maybe I should try horror in short story form.

As for the Saints, they're doing good.

Charles Gramlich said...

SQT, that's cool to hear. I love me some short stories.

Erik Donald France, my first exam is today but I'm teaching all upper level classes this year so I don't have big numbers in my classes, which helps when it comes to grading.

Bernita, those pesky vamps are pretty popular.

jennifer, yes, the Tide rolled high. Glad to see that. Hope they take it all this year.

sage, I actually think horror works best at the short length. It's easier to maintain the high emotional level.

Richard Prosch said...

I would love to see a collection of your short stories in any format. Just the other day got to your "Hunter's Moon" at BTAP and enjoyed it much.

Charles Gramlich said...

Richard, thanks. I'm so glad you enjoyed that story!

BernardL said...

It's not so much no one would read short story collections, Charles, as it is nearly impossible to get an agent or publisher to look at them - unless of course you have Stephen King type credentials.

Greg said...

that was an interesting game... not sure why the Saints pitied the Redskins so much but they sure let them hang in there.

I've been reading more short story collections recently than novels. As life gets busier, there just seems to be less time. Plus I can take a book of short stories with me to work to read on down time, and still maybe read a novel at home.

Steve Malley said...

Glad to hear the Saints are doing well-- I remember when they were called the New Orleans 'Aints' and fans went to games with paper bags over their heads.

Of course, I also remember when the game was played in leather helmets and the ball was a piece of wood wrapped in rags...

Charles Gramlich said...

BernardL, well, maybe a small press. I know some that might be open. Speaking of King, I just picked up Dreams and NIghtmares, his big collection.

Greg Schwartz, I do the same time. Especially at this time of the year I read a lot of short stories.

Steve Malley, oh yeah, Steve, you are so ancient. Dude I've got dandruff older than you! :)

Voidwalker said...

I love writing short stories, but I'd never buy a book collection of short stories. I enjoy reading them via blogs if they pop up, but that's the end of it for me. Maybe I'm odd like that.

As for the "vampire's are popular" comment. I've been curious about that. My current Novel in progress has a thick vampire concept, but I was working on it before the HUGE vampire craze began. I'm wondering if I could be hurt or helped by the success of all the vamp novels lately. I wonder if an angent/publisher would see it and say "Gah... another vamp novel" --->Thud-into-trash?

jodi said...

Charles, short story collecions are my least favorite things to read. I prefer to sink into a long, rather detailed book. I like to get attached to a rich character, and that seems to take a long book to do it. Dunno. Just me.

Randy Johnson said...

I'm not sure how popular story collections are these days. I still read them, though like most, not a complete run-through. I generally pepper them around novels.

Lana Gramlich said...

I've found (especially since I stopped reading fiction,) that I prefer short stories. It allows me a bit of a break w/o me having to invest major time to reach the satisfaction of resolution.

Cloudia said...

I admire your work ethic.


Aloha, Charles

Comfort Spiral

G. B. Miller said...

I might as well comment about the football....I get it from everywhere else in my life, I might as well get the abuse here.

Being a Patriots fan, I believe that neither the Saints or the Colts will finish out the regular season undefeated.

Then again, I also predicted that my team would be your team and that other team too.

Rick said...

If it's from you, Charles, darn right they'll read them! Have you thought about emailing William with a proposal?

Chris Eldin said...

I enjoy short stories. I've always wondered why airport bookstores don't have short story anthologies. I think it'd be the perfect place to market these kinds of books.

Good luck with your new venture!! Sounds fun!

Merisi said...

I love short story collections!

the walking man said...

Some of the best entertainment comes from the short and sweet. Personally I like shorts better than investing major amounts of time in a long novel these days.

So did you go into the office for your student? You know just to give the kid a break? ha ha ha ha no need to answer that.

Charles Gramlich said...

Voidwalker, I think it's a certain kind of vampire that is popular, largely the romantic version that is pretty tame and not too dangerous. I probably buy 25 short story collections a year, at least.

jodi, I know a lot of folks that feel that way. I think genre makes a difference. SF and horror seem to lend themselves particularly to short stories, I think.

Randy Johnson, I have a bunch of collections and I'll often just read a story or two in each and then move on to another.

Lana Gramlich, I feel that way a lot too, especially when my work load gets very heavy.

Cloudia, thanks.

G, I actually tend to like the Patriots myself. There a pretty classy team. I will be surprised if any team finishes 16 and 0 but I sure wish the Saints would.

Rick, speaking of collections, when should I pick up another one of yours? I didn't think about William. I'll have to check that out.

Chris Eldin, I like to carry short story collections with me when I travel because traveling is such a distraction often times. Reading a short piece helps me.

Merisi, me too.

Mark, especially since there are quite a few weak novels out there. And no, I didn't go in for that student. Or should I say, "hell no!" ;)

laughingwolf said...

i love to read shorts, and do so regularly, but agents/pubs know the money is in the novel :(

canada's best short story writer is alice munro...

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...


I think it is all about the storyline. If the story, short or long, grabs the attention of the reader quickly, well, they are hooked.
Think of it this way; people go to amusement parks and stand long lines just to get on a ride that last a few minutes; the roller coaster, obviously. Why do you think they do that? The thrill right?
I am not getting to the point very well. What I mean to say is, the world is busier than ever and we never seem to have the time to read like we wish. What if you, in your short stories, could give them that thrill they are hunting for in the small amount of time they have? I should think you'd become very popular.

I believe in you.

Soft love,

pattinase (abbott) said...

Reading a collection of Ed Gorman, a collection of Jean Thompson and an anthology just as you ask.

Charles Gramlich said...

laughingwolf, at present I've kind of given up on the agent route. I don't think I know munro. Will have to check her out.

Tara, I agree completely. That's why I've kept expecting the short story to make a big come back. And I'd like that.

pattinase, I'm reading a Louis L'Amour collection of his early stories and a collection of BOLO stories by other authors.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I gave up following sports - my nerves couldn't take it

Barbara Martin said...

I like short story collections as the reading tends to go quicker.

writtenwyrdd said...

I tend to not care for short story collections, but I'd definitely buy and read yours, Charles.

Charles Gramlich said...

ARCHAVIST, I should probably follow your lead that way.

Barbara Martin, for me as well.

writtenwyrdd, did you ever read the SF Hall of Fame Volume 1? that is the greatest collection of SF short stories ever.

writtenwyrdd said...

Never did. I do have a few volumes of Year's Best SFF or Horror. Barely read any of them.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,

I saw your Saints -- that was a scary game! As for short stories, I love them. I don't think they have to have something to hold them together, but it can help if there's a thread. I will never be able to give up any genre (even the almost never read poetry) just because I love them all. Good luck with your collection -- it'll be great!

cs harris said...

I have a recurring nightmare--still, after all these years--that it's finals time and I suddenly realize that I forgot I was registered for a class and so never went all year and now it's too late to drop. I wake up in a gut panic every time.

Merisi said...

Stored on your hard drive?
Saved on more than one, yes?
(Don't ask about the sad tale of being stupid enough to think that an external hard drive is a safe way to archive my pictures!)

Miladysa said...

I hope your vampires are mean and moody. :)

It seems to be a funny time of the year for final exams. Pleased for you - not so pleased for the poor poppets who face sitting them LOL

L.A. Mitchell said...

I would think short story collections would satisfy everyone's busy lives these days, but sadly I don't see enough of them. How exciting that you're considering publishing one. Good luck finishing out the semester :)

Rachel V. Olivier said...

I love genre short story collections and anthologies. Really. They are lots of fun, I think. I say go for it.