Cynthia Dettman:  Author

The Short Story World

Readers and Writers, I want your comments on this!  The literary world is full of short stories, little gems of human insight and intrigue, sometimes linked together with repeating characters or situations to paint a picture of a small town or a community. Like the intricate “kolam” (Indian chalk drawing) featured above, small details add up to a full story in a brief space.

I have to admit that I have not been a regular short story writer or reader.  I’ve instead been an avid reader of novels.  How about you?  Perhaps I’ve avoided short stories because they are difficult to write!  (Not that a novel is easy!) In a short form, one must convey so much, so succinctly, so compellingly.  Many fiction writers launch their careers by getting short stories published in literary journals.  This seems very practical, but what inspires them to write in this format otherwise?

Questions for your consideration:

  • First, why are short stories published and read less frequently?  (or am I wrong?)
  • What are your favorite short story collections?  (maybe send us all a short review!)
  • If you write short stories, tell us why and how they delights you.

I’m now switching to reading short story collections to better understand the craft and to gain inspiration for the stories I want to write.

Some of My Favorites Read So far:  

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (a mid-20th century classic)

The Water Museum by Luis Alberto Urrea

Olive Kitterridge (my favorite linked short story collection) by Elizabeth Strout

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

What’s on my bedside table:  

Runaway by Alice Munro

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven by Sherman Alexie

Books to be purchased soon! 

Short Stories by People of Color

Looking forward to your comments and thoughts- and ideas for more short stories to read!

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