Recently I’ve been on a bit of a short story kick. Over Writers’ Day I went to a workshop with Bret Anthony Johnston, the super fabulous director of creative writing at Harvard. I’ve known Bret for a while and every workshop he does he uses Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” for an example.
So I re-read that the other day. I read it in a compilation of all of her short stories so I’ve been reading more to look for common threads. I don’t have much exposure to Flannery’s work which I think is quite a gap in my literary education. So I’m educating myself! I was surprised to see there don’t seem to be any movie versions of the story out. It’s such a well known and well written story I’m surprised no one has taken the concept for a movie. But that’s probably for the best, most movie adaptations don’t turn out so well.
I’ve also been reading some of Chekhov’s short stories. I’ve always liked “Lady With The Dog” so I was interested in checking out some more of his work. Interestingly enough, there was just an article in this month’s Mental Floss about Chekhov’s play “The Seagull” and how it launched realism in modern theater. I’d like to read that as well. It’s not in my book but perhaps I can find it at the library. I really like short stories because I don’t have a ton of time to read so reading a short story makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something when I get to the end. I also believe short stories are really good to analyze and learn from as a writer. While there are many techniques to be observed in a novel, a short story is a nice condensed way to see how a writer makes characters vivid and plot flow. I’ve been writing a lot of short stories lately and sending them off to literary magazines so I’m finding this to be a helpful exercise.
Any short story recommendations for me?