For the European Network of Short Fiction Research conference, May 2016
Emerging short story writers are the children of this century; infant practitioners who in moving away from traditional routes into publication, have collectively empowered short story practice online. The multi-modal platforms that online continues to develop, has enabled the form to be explored, transmitted, and received more than ever. In fact, online has evolved into the infant practitioner’s ‘training ground’; from tapping into its global hub of information that provides a wealth of instant support, advice, and publishing opportunities, to the ways in which it enables us to receive, consume, and promote short fiction in spaces that celebrate all that the form can achieve, even when the context is at its most abstract and self-promotional. For online, the short story is no longer the novel’s troublesome sibling, but the novel’s greatest supporter.
In this paper, I will discuss how I have approached the online training ground as both a writing space and promotional device to create my debut collection. I will discuss the various modes I have embraced – Short Story Sunday, The Luminary, E-Book anthologies, Prompted Tales, to name but a few – and examine how they have enabled me to experiment with form, explore new ground, whilst enabling an authorial control over what I write, and how and where I place my work. I will lend my experience to that of my contemporaries, in particular, those whose prolific cyber-socialisation has significantly improved transmission, and underpin all discussion with the counterargument that persists to challenge that online cannot fully deliver upon the credibility of the book to validate literary status.