Friday, February 26, 2016

Writing Short Stories


What is a short story? If you take the time to look it up, most suggest a short story is 1,000 or 1,500 to 7,500 words. Some writers enjoy doing shorts, others think it is a waste of time. Many modern writers skip short stories because they do not sell very well – too bad. I love reading short story collections and most of the time I have a book of shorts I am reading. Guess there are not many readers like me.
Another book and another day finished. Photo 2-24-2016
I just finished reading a small collection of O. Henry stories, loved them. And he, above all other writing, enjoyed writing them. He liked writing them so much he even gave away his short story writing secret. “I’ll give you the whole secret to short story writing. Here it is. Rule 1: Write stories that please yourself. There is no Rule 2.”

Junot Diaz, who won a Pulitzer for his terrific novel, The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao, had this to say about writing shorts.  “We get so many people saying short fiction is not economical, that it doesn’t sell; but there are so many of us enjoying writing it and reading it. So it’s wonderful to be around people who love short fiction too – it’s like hanging around with my tribe.”
In November, I published a collection of short stories, Under Western Skies, a book of short stories of Christmas. I loved writing them, but it is not easy. I found it to be quite a challenge to write a beginning, middle and end in a couple thousand words. I have read that after poetry, short stories are the most difficult to write and in many ways, I think that is true.

If nothing else, I believe Ray Bradbury had the correct idea about writing shorts. “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”
Meanwhile, if anyone has read any great short story collections lately, let me know.
My favorite photo this week - I call it, Do You Think They See Me?


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