Saturday, 4 June 2011

A Week of Short Stories

I've been trying to improve my short stories this week - and trying to learn the 'art' of it.  I often end up writing short stories after just starting with an idea and seeing where it runs out.  But there is a specific way of structuring a short story which is more sophisticated than just a chunk of a novel or a passage of fiction.

The history of the short story is dominated by Russian and American writers.  In the mid-nineteenth century Edgar Allan Poe paved the way with stories like The Pit and the Pendulum, using genre-defining symbols and imagery.  Then Anton Chekov made character and difficult situations the focus in stories like The Lady and the Lapdog which describes a love affair.  I have a lot of time for Chekov, I think Poe is a bit dated now.  Then came Maupassant, whose novels and stories I love.  He is remembered for his wow endings, but flimsy plots, see The Necklace.  Basically if you put Maupassant and Chekov together you might have the best story ever.  These writers were writing 150 years ago now, but their stories still have value for writers, as they set the standard. 

I'd be interested to know what people think if they have the time to read these three stories, or if they have read them before.  Can you tell the different styles apart? This post was a bit better the first time round but unfortunately when I clicked POST it all deleted and I hadn't saved it.  Oh and it's half past midnight, lol.
Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dave,

    I can't wait to read these three stories and I'll definitely let you know my thoughts once I have, great post!