Thursday, July 23, 2009

Short Story Thursday:

Just because it's short, doesn't mean it's easy!

EVERY word counts. There isn't enough space for filler. There isn't a chapter somewhere in the middle that could be taken out.. MIND your words. USE your words. WORDS!

And something I like to tell myself to keep the pressure off: "A story is only words. A poem is only words." I've said this more than once over the last couple months. I'll say it again soon enough.

in the 2008 edition of How to Write a Short Story (John Vorwald and Ethan Wolff) there is a very abbreviated list of twenty excellent stories they recommend. I am going to list the first ten here:

"Cathedral"/Raymond Carver
"The Swimmer"/John Cheever
"The Lady with the Pet Dog"/Anton Chekhov
"The Story of an Hour"/Kate Chopin

"The Most Dangerous Game"/Richard Connell
"Barn Burning"/William Faulkner
"The Yellow Wallpaper"/Charlotte Perkins Gilman
"The Birthmark"/Nathaniel Hawthorne
"Hills like White Elephants"/Ernest Hemingway

(I made the ones I have read dark red)

Just in case you're wondering, I love the book. It is like both of my fiction writing professors combined. Now it is not a substitute for either one of these professors, but a great addition to any writer's collection of "books about writing."

Character (make a chart!)
Conflict (external? internal?)
REVISION (unity, voice, flow...)

My copy of this book is already dog-eared.

~~J

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