Let’s Talk with Nancy J. Cohen

Short Fiction by Nancy J. Cohen

I’ve never been a big fan of short fiction. I prefer to read a novel that I can sink my teeth into, as the proverbial saying goes. I like to get absorbed in the story and love the feeling when it’s so good that I don’t want it to end. I get entranced by the characters and their world and want to stay there for long hours of reading pleasure. In contrast, a short story is quick and often has a twist at the end. These may be good to read when you only have a brief amount of time and want something you can finish.

Then there is flash fiction or micro-fiction as they call the short, short stories. These are more akin to slices of life or vignettes with a focus on character. They don’t need a plot structure like a true short story. If you like reading essays, these might be for you. They’re clearly not for me.

I need characters whose lives will enthrall me and who sweep me into the path of adventure, danger, intrigue and romance. Short fiction doesn’t appeal to me this way, although I might study them on occasion as a learning experience to see how other authors do it. Nor do I feel I’m clever enough to come up with that surprise ending each time. It’s easier for me to plot a mystery novel and figure out the clues and red herrings and misdirection for the reader.

Do you read short fiction? If so, what need does it satisfy? Or do you prefer novel-length works? If you’re into a series, do you like short stories and novellas that add to the body of work, or would you rather the author stuck to the longer books?