Since starting my Creative Writing course I have developed a greater affection for short fiction than I ever had before. Previously I enjoyed the collections of Michel Faber and Alexei Sayle and dipped in and out of Raymond Carver’s work, but I never really delved much further than that. Now I am ordering a variety of short fiction collections from Amazon, listening to short fiction while I cycle, and most of all, writing a lot of short fiction. I have written two stories in the last two weeks, ‘Rip Rap’ and ‘Connected’ and I am keen to start the next one, though redrafting these two pieces for my upcoming assessments demands my time.
Why are we so drawn to the short form? Perhaps it is the fact it affords the writer and the reader the ability to cover a breadth of experience in a short time. As Raymond Carver said, ‘Get in. Get out. Don’t linger.’ Or perhaps it’s because, as James Lasdun write in his excellent review of a batch of new short fiction collections, ‘The view from somewhere else,’ (Guardian, April 4th 2009):
‘there’s at least a unique potentiality in the short story, and that it has to do with, among other things, omission and a quality of internal resonance between the parts that, if handled well, can escalate the emotional power of the whole.’
Read any good short fiction lately?