- by Laura Resnick
I’ve got a new short story out, “Project: Creation,” in a themed science fiction/fantasy anthology called Intelligent Design (DAW Books, September 2009).
Although short stories aren’t as popular as novels, and although short fiction writers bemoan the lack of markets compared to a few decades ago, there is still a surprising amount of short fiction published, particularly in the science fiction/fantasy genre.
My first foray into short fiction occurred years ago, right after I delivered my eighth published novel. In those days, I wrote romance novels under a pseudonym. My father—Mike Resnick, a science fiction writer—along with a prolific anthologies editor named Martin H. Greenberg, were commissioning stories for an sf/f short fiction anthology that they were co-editing, and they decided to offer me as a slot in the book. I was feeling a little burned-out after writing eight romance novels in three years; so doing something totally different—and so short!—sounded like just the refreshing change of pace I needed before writing my next book proposal.
Writing my first-ever short story and writing it in a genre I’d never written in before (sf/f) was a big challenge, and it took me about two weeks to research and write my 3,000-word story. Since “Laura Leone” was my romance-writing name, I published my sf/f short story under my real name. It wasn’t a career decision, or even a choice that I particularly thought about, since I assumed that the sf/f short story would be a one-off lark, and that my real career was in romance fiction.
Well, as events turned out… Martin Greenberg liked my short story enough that he invited me into another anthology, and then another, and then a few more after that. Then some other anthology editors started inviting me into their books. I really enjoyed the work, so I kept saying yes. And the next thing I knew (or so it seemed to me), I had sold about twenty sf/f short stories; I won the John W. Campbell Award (Best New SF/F Writer) on the basis of my short fiction; and people were asking when I was going to write an sf/f novel. So I started thinking about that.
By now, years later, I’ve sold a total of about sixty short stories, I left romance-writing long ago, and I have been writing fantasy novels full-time under my real name for a number of years. And I still find writing short stories a refreshing change-of-pace from the marathon endurance feat of writing a novel!