It was a worthwhile experiment for me. I read 367 stories, most of them very good, many of them astoundingly good, and I learned a lot about what impresses me as a reader and what kind of writer I want to be.
All of these stories that I read, an editor paid for. That means they loved them. And what is clear after all these stories, these 1.26 million words, is that love is subjective. When it comes to stories, after a certain level of craftsmanship, it’s all about taste.
Yes, this is quite obvious, something I knew going into this, but after spending all these hours and all this focus, I know it in my bones now. Just because I don’t like a story, it doesn’t make it bad in any objective way. It’s just not for me. The same goes for all the rejections that come in for my stories or all the not-so-good reviews on my books. It’s more about them than me. I didn’t provide them with what they wanted. My job as a writer is to tell the best stories I can, stories that I love, and know there are some folks out there that will love them too.
This experiment, such as it is, ends here. The side-effect of all this short story reading is that I only read two novels last year and am really missing longer narratives. I also didn’t read as much non-fiction as I would have liked. You may see this feature pop up from time to time as I find stories I love, but not monthly anymore.
So far this month I’ve read Stephen King’s novella Elevation (quite good) and am deep into a long novel.
Here’s the December roundup.
Stories read in December : 25
Words read in December : about 122,000
Stories read this year, so far: 367
Words read this year, so far: 1,260,000
OMG I So Love These Stories!
These are what I consider “must read” stories. As in you MUST read them! Now!
Now Dress Me in my Finest Suit and Lay Me in My Casket
Clarkesworld, free, approx 2,000 words
A poignant and short story about a astronaut facing a deadly mission and reflecting back on how her grandfather prepared himself for death. It packs a punch.
Credit to My Nation
Asimov’s Science Fiction, $2.99 per e-issue, approx 6,700 words
A mildly sci-fi story about a non-binary individual returning to the Bahamas for a funeral and looking at their past and the past of their country. This story does what sci-fi can often do best–it magnifies our current cultural reality by casting it as fiction with sci-fi elements to intensify it.
For those that followed along, thank you. I hope you found some gems among the stories I listed.
If any stories have touched you recently, let me know in the comments.