A short story I recently read

‘Bottles of Grief’ by Eva Shelton This story is one of the winners of The Insider Prize 2021. You can read it here (scroll down) in about 10 minutes. Thinking about story focus and characterisation… The narrator is attending a group grief counselling session. They (gender unknown) watch as the other attendees share their stories.Continue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

‘How to Talk to Your Mother’ by Lorrie Moore Read it here in about 20 minutes. Thinking about motifs… I’m a sucker for nostalgia. Having a short story/novel look back into the past, especially after a character has died, gets me every time. The opening line of this story tells us someone has died: ‘WithoutContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

The Man I Killed, by Tim O’Brien Read it here in 10 minutes. Thinking about structure and effects… O’Brien’s use of structure is amazing throughout the collection The Things they Carried; many of the stories spiral around events, revisiting them, reconsidering them, which I think reflects how memory works, especially in relation to trauma. TheContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

A short story I recently read

‘The Man on the Stairs’ by Miranda July Read it here in about 10 minutes. Thinking about time and characterisation… I love this story. In the opening, the narrator wakes to hear someone on the stairs outside her bedroom. We have this repetition and extension of things she can hear and feel, which demonstrates herContinue reading “A short story I recently read”

My top 10 of 2020

It’s hard to narrow it down, but, gun to my head, here are my 10 favourite reads from 2020: ‘Without a Map’, by Meredith Hall, in True Stories, Well Told: From the First 20 Years of Creative Nonfiction Magazine (Lee Gutkind, Ed.) In 1972 the author, broken, abandons her life and wanders, on foot, fromContinue reading “My top 10 of 2020”

Three stories for Halloween

If you’re looking for some spooky reads for Halloween, here are three short horror stories featuring cats. Best read on Halloween night, basking in the candle light emanating from inside a pumpkin, with some seasonal chocolates at your side, and all the doors and windows secure. You’ll never look at a cat the same wayContinue reading “Three stories for Halloween”

A short story I recently re-read

‘The Bus’, by Shirley Jackson Available here. You can read it in 40 minutes or so. Analysis:  Thinking about structure…  The story begins with the simple statement ‘Miss Harper was going home, although the night was wet and nasty.’ The word ‘home’ is repeated 5 times in the opening paragraph, as the reader is told (without aContinue reading “A short story I recently re-read”

A short story I recently re-read

‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, by Edgar Allan Poe Available here. Read it in about 15 minutes. Analysis:                                Thinking about using rhetorical devices… This is the opening of a classic Poe horror story. The story is told in the first person, by aContinue reading “A short story I recently re-read”

Three stories for autumn

If you’re looking for some reading to inspire your own writing this autumn, you might like to consider some of these stories: The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield Read an excerpt here. This is a metafictional novel – a story about stories. The narrator is reminiscent of a Brontë heroine, there are references to 18thContinue reading “Three stories for autumn”

A short story I recently read

‘Arachne’, by Nina MacLaughlin Available here. Less than a 15-minute read. Analysis: Thinking about adaptations and ‘writing back’…  This story is an adaptation of the myth of Minerva (Roman Goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, strategic warfare, commerce, weaving, and the crafts) and her interactions with a mortal named Arachne. In the myth, Minerva punishes ArachneContinue reading “A short story I recently read”