All this talk of short stories made me think of the writers behind them. To my mind, short story writing is a fine art. How does one build a plot that is compelling, develop characters that readers care about, and bring the story to a conclusion that may or may not be what the reader expects? And, the writer must do this in the space of 1-3 pages. Being brief that too while writing a story is no mean feat. For the record, I’ve written websites, blogs, essays, user guides, training manuals, and e-learning courses – but I’ve never written a short story. It is a difficult art – and underappreciated too, I’m afraid.
Right from school, we read short stories by writers such as Saki, Guy de Maupassant, O. Henry, Oscar Wilde, Ruskin Bond and Anton Chekov to name a few. From the Indian subcontinent one name comes immediately to mind – Saadat Hasan Manto. Some of his short stories are just a paragraph long – and what paragraphs those are! Poignant, heart breaking, wistful, reflective – all in one. How easily the stories flow, how effortless the construction is. I remember how struck I was as a reader as the last line of the story held a twist that changed the entire meaning of the story!
I’m going to revisit some stories and will read a few new ones – and I hope you do too. And as we read, dear reader, let us pause a moment to appreciate the art of the short story.