Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A List of Stories, Costing a Quarter Each

Short fiction writers are some of the ultimate cheap entertainers.  A lot of it is free to read.  What isn't free is of a high quality, for the most part.  However, you'll likely not like all of the stories in a particular issue of a magazine you buy, or in an anthology.  On a different, yet related coin, it's tough and demoralizing to some writers when their writing doesn't make them much money.

A new source of fiction and poetry, QuarterReads.com, is intriguing.  It allows you to pick and choose what stories you want to read from the site, for a quarter each.  That way, you sort of make a custom anthology for yourself.  And better than an anthology, all of the stories you pay for are placed onto a list in your dashboard together, so you have easy access to all of your stories at the same time.  This service is good for writers too, because every time you read a story on QuarterReads.com, the writer gets 22 of the 25 cents you spent.  Not much, but a very fair price for a story, especially the longer ones on the site.  Some stories are less than 200 words, while the longest are 2,000 exactly.  No matter what length, each read will cost you a unique form of currency, a read!  You can buy reads in increments of 20, paying $5 for every 20 reads.  I highly recommend paying the $5 for an initial 20 reads from the site and see what you think.

If you're unsure of this whole concept, I suggest you try whatever story is currently the free read of the week on QuarterReads.  At the time of this writing, that story is "Nuclear Family" by Alex Shvartsman, which is a very good dark Christmas post-apoc story.  Yes, dark, Christmas, and post-apoc all combined!

If you decide to try QuarterReads out but have no clue what to read first, I have a solution!  Below is my recommendation for your first 8-9 reads, in alphabetical order.

1.  "A Thousand Cuts" by Alex Shvartsman
1642 words of horror, fantasy, and light romance with an eerie voice and tone; Shvartsman is a master of the form.

936 words of sci-fi; very cool concept for the most part.

596 words of sci-fi that plays with how stories lose their truthfulness over time; cool setting elements and beautiful execution.  (Disclaimer: the subject of this story is Jesus', whose life story has become riddled with misinformation by 1,000,000 AD.  I am a firm Christian, but I did not take any offense.  I just want to warn you, if you think it might offend you.)

4.  "Christmas' End" by Jamie Lackey
166 words of fantasy; brief, but with potency in every word.

5.  "Golden Years in the Paleozoic" by Ken Liu
960 words of sci-fi from one of the biggest names in sci-fi short fiction; wonderful voice.

6.  "Minor Details" by Jaleta Clegg
1815 words of fantasy with two young female characters, one of which is dyslexic.  The fact that she is dyslexic is very important to the story.  It's a bit weird a points, but overall very funny.

7.  "Queen of the Noble Gases" by Patrick Stahl
962 words of speculative fiction; okay, you don't have to read my sole QuarterReads story if you don't want to, but I'd really appreciate it if you did.  It contains anthropomorphic noble gases who are actually nobles within the gas anthropomorphic gas community.  I think it's a cool idea, at least.

8.  "Superior Firepower" by Alex Shvartsman
981 words of fantasy; this concept is a little strange and perhaps a tad undeveloped, but the writing itself is excellent.

9.  "Things That Matter" by Amanda C. Davis
981 words of sci-fi that also just so happens to have Christmas and post-apoc flowing deep within its veins, though not quite as dark as "Nuclear Family" (which you should buy if you're reading this after it's no longer free).  The setting is developed well.  Great prose from one of my favorite spec fic writers.

8 comments:

  1. I have never heard of this. Thanks for sharing! I'll have to check it out.
    I've been enjoying short stories lately but I seldom see a collection I want to purchase so this site makes a ton of sense. Oh and congrats on having a story out on it!

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    1. It's new (well, just a few months old)! Well that works great then. Thank you for the congratulations, though the threshold is actually very low for this particular service. As long as the story isn't offensive and doesn't have grammatical problems, they'll almost always allow it on the site (according to them).

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    2. My son read Queen of the Noble Gases (he was reading over my shoulder so I let him have a turn lol) and he enjoyed it. So you now have an eight year old fan :)

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    3. Well I'm glad he was entertained. Awesome! My little brother is nine. I haven't shown him this particular story, but he likes my more "fairy tale" sort of stories, like "The Wizard of Whey."

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  2. What a cool idea! I like the ability to pick and choose what I want to read---and for a very reasonable price. Thanks for the info and the recs.

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    1. I think it's a cool idea too! No problem at all.

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  3. Hi Patrick, this is a super cool site and idea. And 25 cents for a story is a reasonable price. I will tweet about this post of yours.
    Btw... like your profile picture, gives you a very serious writer image :)

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    1. Thanks. And thank you! I guess I'm a decently serious writer, haha.

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