By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY
5 Questions for Stephen King:
Stephen King, who has written about 400 short stories, is guest editor of Best American Short Stories 2007, out this week. He discusses short fiction with USA TODAY:
1. What did you look for in your selections?
Stories that care about my feelings as well as my intellect, and when I find one that is all-out emotionally assaultive — like “Sans Farine” by Jim Shepard — I grab that baby and hold on tight.
2. You write that “in the days of the old Saturday Evening Post, short fiction was a stadium act; now it can barely fill a coffeehouse.” Why?
The major magazines stopped publishing short fiction because fewer “name” writers were doing it. Popular novelists such as Danielle Steel and Nelson DeMille write few if any short stories. … Without the stories to read in the popular publications, a large majority of the reading public has forgotten the pleasures of strong and readable short fiction.
3. Given shorter attention spans, shouldn’t short stories be popular?
The short story has been replaced by the short chapter. See James Patterson and Robert Parker, for instance.
4. Can you recommend a few magazines that are not widely known but publish good short stories?
Zoetrope and Tin House are consistently fine.
5. What are you writing?
It’s called A Very Tight Place. Not a novel but a long story. I’ve been writing lots of stories lately. I wonder why?