I benefit from the critiques I receive from other short story writers. I will say that I would be writing short stories whether I knew anyone else writing them or not, and have written them almost my whole life. But knowing other short story writers gives me the opportunities to receive valuable feedback, learn where submissions are being accepted, and read some really great stuff.
What is your thought process when you submit or select stories for a themed anthology?
I've been on the selecting-end less often, so I'll address that first. I've always been given a score sheet to assess each story. This can be frustrating because it's so objective, but that's not a bad way to approach selection. I haven't seen the ideal score sheet yet, and maybe never will, but some are better than others. There should always be room for comments so that whoever is doing the final selections has more than numbers to evaluate.
For submitting, I have sometimes tried to rework an already-written story to fit a theme, but that has hardly ever worked for me. It's better, for me at least, to start a new story to fit the theme.
When do you know an idea is suited for a short story instead of a longer work?
Good question. I'm not sure I have an answer. I always know whether my ideas are for stories or novels, but I'm not sure how I know.
Have you written “flash fiction”? What do you think of flash fiction as a literary form?
Yes, and I love it! I think it's fun because it's challenging. I like trying to fit a plot into a few words. I'm forced to write clean, lean, and mean and I think my overall writing has been improved by the flash fiction I've done.
I couldn't set a limit. This depends on how well you can do it. You can certainly write a story with one character, and with two or three. The upper limit would be approaching double digits for me.
Since I could hold a crayon. I always answer this question by telling about drawing pictures before I could read or write, then giving the narration when I showed my parents my pictures, because they were always a story.
What is good/bad about the current short story market?
Well, it would be nice if lots of publishers paid a lot of money for stories. However, since I don't plan on getting rich writing, I'm happy with the markets I can find, especially the ones that accept my stories. I don't have as much time to write them lately, and am not submitting to a wide range of markets. I'm tending to submit where I think I'll have a good chance of acceptance. If I weren't working so hard on novels, I'd probably look around for new markets and try them
Should an unpublished author self-publish short stories?
The reason I write short stories is:
Again, thanks for joining us and providing us with such terrific insight, Kaye. Best wishes for your continuing success.