2014–The Year of the Short Story

Now that I’m retired, I have time to do everything I dreamed of doing, like writing a novel.  Well, novel writing hasn’t worked out like I fantasized.  I keep cranking out thousands of words that go nowhere.  My problem, is I’m building a crappy home before acquiring the skills to even build a good dog house. 

I need to become talented at constructing 1,000 word stories before engineering  a 100,000 word story.

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The trouble is short stories are a dying art.  Few people read them.  If it wasn’t for would-be writers, I doubt if they’d exist at all.  That’s a shame because short stories are a wonderful art form.

My Zen Habits guru recommends focusing on one goal, and learning how to jettison all the extra weight that keeps my rocket from gaining orbital velocity.  Writing short stories will become my Walden Pond of fiction.

This morning, waking before dawn, I grabbed my Nexus 7 and read “The Ghosts of Christmas” by Paul Cornell, from Year’s Best SF 18, edited by David Hartwell, and was inspired by this science fictional retelling of Dickens’ classic tale.  In ancient days, mystical monks were known for finding revelation in the wee hours studying sacred scrolls.  Reading in the dark by the glow of my Android tablet, I realized I wanted to immerse myself into short stories, and put my mind into a 10,000 word reality.

Goal for 2014:  Develop the habit of reading and writing short stories every day.

JWH – 1/16/14

3 thoughts on “2014–The Year of the Short Story”

  1. I think the short story has migrated to the “Spoken Language” venue…I now listen every weekend to 2 programs on NPR radio which are a modern version of the short story. The Moth radio show rebroadcast live performances of people telling 10 minute true stories… Also Radio Lab has a similar feel of a short story…. Connell

    1. I love listening to short stories presented by professional readers. I recently listened to volume one of Hemingway’s Collected Short Stories read by Stacy Keach and he just brought them to life in such a dramatic way. I read stories with my eyes to study the writing, but listen, to feel them.

  2. Great post! I look forward to reading your writing. I am a big fan of short stories as well as short books. Good luck.

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