Margaret Atwood has always been an early adapter of ideas, research, electronics and trends. Her latest frontier is the growing wave on original online short stories, the kind that can be read in one sitting on niche websites. Thanks to the popularity of portable tablets and an apparently unrelenting and newly identified appetite for stories, it’s a fast growing trend that replaces the stories that used to not be readily available to women and men.
Atwood, one of the greatest writers in the country, contributes to Byliner.com. Her first short story, I’m Starved for You, “an Orwellian thriller of love and lust” is up this week which she describes to Criticize This!
“It takes place in the near future, where there was an interesting arrangement of prison populations with civilians in which they traded places – which would create employment!”
Atwood says there are compelling reasons why online sources for original short stories work.
“One of the things I’m interested in is how the internet is rearranging the lives of writers. And one of the things is bringing back short fiction. If you think of magazines, they had a lot of short stories but then they decided readers didn’t want them which was untrue as it turns out. Because they’re flocking to these short fiction websites of which there is a number.”
Some material is free, other original pieces are paid.
“Byliner.com specialises in “read it one time” nonfiction and fiction, longer short stories and articles. Women particularly like it. They’re longer short stories, about 1500 words, and mine, I’m Starved for You, is up now. You pay for the original stories. They conglomerate a lot of free material in one area, and then you can join and search and do all of those things. Byliner’s originals are key.”
Among Byliner’s bestselling titles are Amy Tan’s Rules for Virgins, Jon Krakauer’s Three Cups of Deceit, Ann Patchett’s The Getaway Car, William T. Vollmann’s Into the Forbidden Zone, Taylor Branch’s The Cartel, and Mark Bittman’s Cooking Solves Everything. The site features curated archives of the works of some of the most popular writers today.
I’m Starved for You is available for $2.99 as a Kindle Single at Amazon, a Quick Read at Apple’s iBookstore, a Nook Snap at BarnesAndNoble.com, and at Kobo.
To read more of Anne Brodie’s interview with Margaret Atwood, visit More.ca.