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Short story discussions > Short Story Discussions: FAQ/Q&A

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message 1: by Candiss (last edited Sep 21, 2010 04:09PM) (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Hi, folks. I'm excited the group will be giving some focus to shorter speculative fiction. Like most people here, I am an avid reader of sf/f, and although I love my novels and series, I also relish shorter works. There is so much wonderful story content available freely online, from well-known award winners and nominees to up-and-coming authors, and now we have a place to discuss some of it with other sf/f aficionados. I'm looking forward to some great discussions!

I'll be coordinating and leading the discussions, but the discussions will, of course, be group-propelled. To get the ball rolling, I thought it would be useful to have a dedicated thread for "discussing the discussions" - information about the story-selection process, discussion format, etc., in addition to a space for everyone to offer their input and ideas, ask questions, express concerns, make suggestions, etc.

Note: Please don't offer suggestions for stories in this thread. Please post story suggestions to the Short Story Master List thread, which is dedicated specifically for that purpose, so that we can keep our endeavor loosely organized. More info can be found below.

message 2: by Candiss (last edited Sep 21, 2010 02:50PM) (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments SHORT STORY DISCUSSION FAQ:

(These guidelines will be a work-in-progress based on group input, but for now this is a starting point. Please feel free to offer any input you have here in this thread.)

Discussion Format Basics:

As Stefan previously suggested, we will be reading and discussing two speculative short stories each month, with the discussion opening for the first monthly story on the 5th of the month in question and the second story’s discussion beginning on the 20th of the month. There will be a separate thread in this folder for each story’s discussion. Unlike the monthly group book discussions, there won’t be a full folder for each story, and unless it seems like we need such for a particular discussion, or in less the group decides otherwise, there won’t be multiple topical sub-threads for each story. All discussion for a given story will take place in the story’s discussion thread.

Group members are free to get involved in the discussion of either, both, or neither of the month’s stories as interest and/or time permits. This is meant to be fun, so join in or opt out each month as you see fit. Hopefully we’ll have a lively group involved each month to keep things moving along.

Story Basics:

Group members can suggest stories anytime – no monthly nomination/seconding or polling will be involved – and can nominate as many or as few stories as they like, whenever they like, in the dedicated Short Story Master List thread . The only criteria required of stories are as follows:

1. All stories must be speculative fiction, regardless of specific sub-genre or focus. (science fiction, fantasy, or a hybrid form...slipstream, New Weird, dystopian, utopian, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk, steampunk, biopunk, military sf, medical sf, socio-political-anthropological sf, high fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, urban fantasy, alternate history, modern fairy tales, re-imagined myths, neo-noir, time travel, space travel, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, supernatural creatures, speculative humor/satire, magic, mechs, and more) There are no hard and fast rules here. If you think it’s speculative, it probably fits.

2. All stories must be available freely online in their entirety. (Many sites offer previews or excerpts of stories, but the reader must pay to read the rest or purchase a print format of the publisher’s magazine, etc. These sites/stories won’t work for our purposes.) Look to the Short Story Sites thread for links to sites that offer free sf/f short fiction online and to suggest other sites.

3. Stories should optimally be of a manageable size for reading and discussion in a casual environment. Novella-length works are probably outside the scope of our project, but the guidelines can blur happily based on group preferences as we find our groove. I don’t know if we need some sort of maximum word count or not… Thoughts?

Story Selection Process:

The two stories we discuss each month will be determined in different ways. Again, as our discussions progress and evolve, we can adapt this to suit the group’s needs and preferences, but this is a starting point.

• Day 5 story: As the story discussion leader, I will choose a story each month for the group to check out. I intend to focus on current stories, as opposed to stories offered in archives, and will place special emphasis on current award nominees, recent award winners, stories that are also included in a current collection or anthology and which are offered online as a way of introducing readers to the author, etc. Too often, I find I miss out on so much great current fiction, because I’m up to my ears in several years’ back-log of stuff to read. (I think most everyone here can relate to the concept of Mount To-Be-Read, and short fiction is not much different. The steps up the mountain are shorter, but even more numerous!) My hope is that we can focus on some of the work that is currently shaping the sf/f landscape, become more versed in who is currently making waves in the short fiction world, and enjoy what some of the current spec-fic luminaries are writing as well as catch some ascendant authors in the midst of their First Big Break.

• Day 20 story: As mentioned above, group members can suggest stories they enjoyed or would like to read and discuss with the group. These suggestions can be made in the Short Story Master List thread and will be compiled into a master list in the first post of that thread for easy reference. When you suggest a story, tell us why you liked it or what intrigues you enough to want to read and discuss it with the group, give information about the author, etc…whatever you think might help others want to read the story, too. Based partially on other group members’ input and enthusiasm for various suggested stories and partially on random chance, I will pick one of the stories from the Master Story List each month (I will actually use a random choice generator to choose each story, so it won’t be based on any personal bias.) unless there is a burst of group enthusiasm for some particular story, i.e. several members want to read it then, etc, in which case I might choose a story so we can read what the group preference leans toward that month. The point of this process is to keep things informal, yet organized, while allowing for group interest to sway the outcome. (The Day 20 stories can come from any timeframe. They need not be current, as long as they are still available freely online.)

So, what does the group think? Questions? Comments? Please feel free to add your input and/or ask any questions below, and let me know here if something needs clarified or if you have other suggestions.

message 3: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
All of this sounds great, Candiss. Thanks so much for taking on this task! I'll drop some nominations into the other topic in a few days, and will do my best to participate in the discussions whenever possible.

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