This week is National Short Story Week here in the UK. All flavours of short stories are being celebrated, from literary to flash, but I'm just going to talk about the ones close to my heart.
Yes, that's right... the truly terrific ... WOMEN'S MAGAZINE SHORT STORIES.
Womag short stories probably have the largest readership of any in the genre, yet they get the least press. They are carefully crafted, they have no wasted words, they are perfect to pick-you-up, to make you laugh, to make you think and sometimes to make you cry. They fulfil a need, in these busy days, for a tiny escape from the daily round.
Back in the early days of the Romantic Novelists' Association, women's magazine fiction editors were larger than life and lions in their field. [There is a whole chapter on the importance of the magazines in Fabulous at Fifty, well worth buying.] Writers of short fiction were lauded (as indeed they should be, she says with no ulterior motive, dear me, no). And yet the market for magazine fiction is now shrinking to make space for paying adverts and celebrity interviews.
Fortunately, some of our best known magazines are still buying good quality stories and still delivering them week after week for a ridiculously low price to a huge section of the buying public.
God bless 'em.
Psst... and on Wednesday this week (24th November) the inestimable People's Friend is publishing the first episode of my serial The Penny Plain Mysteries. Put it on your shopping list for the next four weeks.