Articles, Interviews, & Short Stories

Short stories

These stories were written for the Sunday Express S Magazine. When people ask me about getting started as a writer I always suggest they start with short stories. I didn’t do it that way myself, but looking back I think it would have been good advice. Short stories are so challenging to write! You need all the same skills as you do for a novel—a great plot idea, a sense of place, good characters, a satisfying ending—but you only have a short space to do it in. The point about the ending is especially important—you only get to practice those by finishing a piece of fiction, and you can finish a lot more short stories than you can novels!

I always suggest people read a fabulous book by George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo. He teaches a course on the Russian short story at Syracuse University, and all those insights are packed into A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. He takes a series of stories by masters like Tolstoy and Chekhov, unpacks them and shows you how they work. Just brilliant.

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Photo credits (L-R): Richard Bell, Josh Wilburne, and Phoebe T on Unsplash