Thursday, September 22, 2011

Short Stories and Developing Craft

Honestly, I've never been a big fan of short stories because they're too short.  I want fiction to swallow me whole and take me to a different world where I can can hang out for a while.  But now that I'm working on developing discipline and craft, I've revisited the short story and I'm learning to embrace it.

Working on a short story or a piece of flash fiction is like a super intense workout.  Pumping those writer's muscles, in the space of a couple thousand words.  The short story format is a place to build skills and develop my writer's tool box.  I can work on figurative language, mood, setting, rhythm, and quick stroke character introductions.

If I want to do a really short work out, I'll write a story confined to the world of a single picture (No additional props, just my main character stuck in the frozen world of the photo.)

I'm reading more short stories to help me improve my writing.  Hemingway's  A Clean Well-Lighted Place, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro are some of my favorites.  What are some of your favorites?

The Snows of Ann Arbor


  1. Haruki Murakami's stories are always fun... but one wonders how much of him is lost in translation.

  2. Or lost in the hard boiled wonderland at the end of the world.

  3. Yo! Liz! Aspiring author?! First I've heard.

    I recommend "The Lovely Leave" by Dorothy Parker and "Train" by Joy Williams.

  4. Thanks Elisa. I haven't read either of those.

    I just started listening to the New Yorker fiction podcast. In which a writer reads someone else's story and discusses it with the fiction editor.

    The podcast is just the right length to listen to while cooking.

  5. I finished a manuscript for a middle grade novel and I'm looking for an agent. I'm also working on the first draft of a Young Adult story. I've always wanted to write children's books. I haven't told many people. I was pretty shy about it but I'm trying to get over my fears.