One of the advantages of living in Philadelphia is that your chances of becoming Geekadelphia's Geek of the Week go way up. In the past, this august honor has gone to (among many others) me, Gardner Dozois, Gregory Frost, and Tom Purdom.
Now it's our friend Fran Wilde's turn. Here's a brief excerpt from her interview:
Will you still be writing short stories now that you’ve been working on novels? Is there something special about the form that you enjoy?
I don’t think I can quit short stories. I love their constraints – the brevity, the framing. It’s also really important for me to shake up the pace now and then.
Which is a sweet answer, if not entirely true. I've seen any number of terrific short story writers quit the form. They get into writing novels, which are profitable, and set aside short fiction, which is not. Possibly they think they'll return to it someday -- I've never asked. Because the ability to write short fiction well is like being young and beautiful, or witty, or well-liked. Once you give it up, you're not likely to get it back.
Everything else Fran says is true, however. Short fiction is a great way to shake things up, to try out something new, to keep your longer work from growing stale and predictable. I'm glad she doesn't think it's possible to quit writing it. I hope that, many novels from now, when it's all too easy to let it slide away, she stays in the game.
You can find the entire interview here.