In praise of the Short Story

I’m so enjoying short stories at the moment – reading them and writing them. You get yourself an idea; you spend hours researching it, then you bang away at the keyboard until it’s done. You can explore ideas that aren’t sustainable over 300 pages, and you might even get yourself a bigger idea. One that’ll morph itself into a novel. Failing that, perhaps you’ll meet a character that you’ll want to stay with for longer.

A few short story collections from my shelves….

A few short story collections from my shelves….

This year’s Costa Short Story finalists have been an inspiration. How I loved Zoe Gilbert’s Fishskin, Hareskin and the beautiful Glassblower’s Daughter by Lucy Ribchester. Benjamin Myers’ A Peacock, A Pig in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 7 did things to my stomach that hurt – it was that brilliant. And how I laughed my way through Kevin Franke’s A Visitor, runner up in last year’s Writers & Artists Short Story Competition.

So here I am without the big idea for book three, (Well, there is an idea, I’m just not sure it’s the right one) but I can’t stop writing littlies. I’ve written six over the past three months and I’m pleased with them, especially one particular favourite.

I was going to give myself a grand goal this year – a short story a week. But perhaps that’s a bit too grand, given that I’m job hunting – so here’s a lesser promise. A short story a month for the rest of 2015. I’ll have me a collection by the end of the year (well, I’m hopeful anyway) and maybe I’ll find that big book idea along the way.