And so…

November 24, 2013 § 6 Comments


A short story…can be held in the mind all in one piece. It’s less like a building than a fiendish device. Every bit of it must be cunningly made and crafted to fit together perfectly and without waste so it can perform its task with absolute precision. That purpose might be to move the reader to tears or wonder, to awaken the conscience, to console, to gladden, or to enlighten. But each short story has one chief purpose, and every sentence, phrase, and word is crafted to achieve that end. The ideal short story is like a knife–strongly made, well balanced, and with an absolute minimum of moving parts.

 – Michael Swanwick


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§ 6 Responses to And so…

  • NEO says:

    Reminds me of how hard fiction (which you do so well) is to write.

    • Rachael Charmley says:

      I’m looking out of my study window after a cold and bracing walk. There are still orange leaves on the maples and the sky looks like its carrying snow. All seems right with the world for once. And you made me think. It’s not hard to write fiction – like everything it’s just practice. Then I thought – well if it’s so easy everyone would be doing it…So where do we go from here?

      • NEO says:

        Cold there too, Huh? We haven’t seen the freezing (from the bottom) for close to a week. But it’s reasonably sunny. It does look like a good day.

        That would be you, I think. I find fiction much harder than non-fiction to write, maybe a shortage of imagination. That seems likely after reading your work.

  • Miranda Stone says:

    A perfect description of the craft of short story writing. Thanks for sharing, Rachael!

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