Posts Tagged: short stories

“Don’t Go Online” and Other Good Advice for Writers

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Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Sisterland and guest judge of McSweeney’s first-ever student short story contest, told McSweeney’s in an interview that she is looking for fiction with a “pulse,” that engages “in a kind of conversation,” and that serves the writer’s obsessions.

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Digital Age Fuels Sci-Fi Short Stories

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The digital era has brought on a new golden age of science fiction. Electronic books, self-driving cars, and video phones may not seem too fictional these days, but technology like the Internet has empowered all sorts of new distribution methods connecting sci-fi writing with the fans who support it. New science fiction magazines launch with crowd funding campaigns, while tools like podcasts make fandom even easier— and ultimately, it’s all about the fans:

Sci-fi and fantasy’s online success is down to the strength of its community.

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Peter Orner’s Favorite Short Stories

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I’ll say it: ["Idiots First"] is the most moving American story ever written. (Until I change my mind.)

For online magazine Ozy, Rumpus columnist Peter Orner collects some of his very favorite short stories.

They range from North American classics by Bernard Malamud and Alice Munro to work by Mexican author Juan Rulfo and murdered South African author Bessie Head.

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Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

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Alice Munro, a “master of the contemporary short story,” has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature.

The first Canadian to win, Munro told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

I think my stories have gotten around quite remarkably for short stories, and I would really hope that this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something that you played around with until you’d got a novel written.

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A Story of Equine Intimacy

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“She had big brown eyes, long eyelashes, and a light brown mane and tail. It may not seem possible but I saw a shy smile on her lips. She tried to make believe that she didn’t notice me.”

At BOMB, an illustrated short story about a man falling in love with a horse, by artist Myron Kaufman. The story, Horse Scents, and its author, are introduced by filmmaker Charlie Kaufman, Myron Kaufman’s son.

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Young Artist, Mean World

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The art world is a rough place, which is the practical thought behind art schools offering courses on grant-writing and portfolio building.

Still, even with the presence of these utilitarian courses, when embarking on your formative artistic education, how can you conceive of the difficulties ahead?

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The Sunday Rumpus Book Blog Roundup

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My relationship with the book blogs has hit a snag. Today, we got in a throw-down fight, and I came pretty close to breaking some china.

It’s just that the blogs whine and worry and complain a lot, and they always seem to want to cheat on me with famous writers, like Martin Amis or David Foster Wallace or Marquis de Sade, and then it rubs off on me, and I end up whining and worrying and complaining more than they do, and then I stop liking myself.

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How Not to Be Boring

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Tim O’Brien has a really brilliant article in The Atlantic in which he argues that the biggest problem with “unsuccessful stories” is, to put it quite simply, that “they are boring.” I couldn’t agree more.

O’Brien worries about the focus in writing workshops on believability and “verisimilitude.” For him, believability isn’t usually the problem.  “The failure,” he says, “almost always, is one of imagination.”

Here’s a few of his ideas on what authors should strive for, some of which seem obvious, but all of which hearken back to some long lost idea of “storytelling” that focuses on keeping people’s attention and doing something with it:

“(I)nformational detail must function actively within the dynamic of a story.”

“(A) well-imagined story is organized around extraordinary human behaviors and unexpected and startling events, which help illuminate the commonplace and the ordinary.”

“Inventing a nifty, extraordinary set of behaviors for our characters is not enough.

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Smart People Talk Short Stories

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In a post last week titled More Crappy News for Short Story Writers, I lamented what I considered to be a lost opportunity for the big publishing houses. They could, I suggested, use similarities between good short story writing and good web copy to sell short story collections rather than deeming them a lost cause and refusing to publish them at all.

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More Crappy News for Short Story Writers

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Mark Trainer publishes an excerpt of a note he received from a “thoughtful, well-respected agent” on his blog.

“I have no confidence in being able to place a collection at this time in the world of publishing. Publishers don’t like to publish short story collections in general unless they are VERY high concept or by someone very strange or very famous or Indian.

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Better Late Than Never: A Review of Ben Fountain’s Brief Encounters With Che Guevara

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It could be said there are two types of stories. The first are those told by people inside the conflict, ie. children raised in group homes writing about state welfare, soldiers writing about war, Palestinians writing about demolished homes. These insider narratives, fiction or non-fiction, are told from the perspective of someone who knows one side of a situation intimately but is often unaware of the trials and tribulations of the other side.

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