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Kelvin M. Knight

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

Thomas A. Edison

Reader, Author, Reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Greatness

Following the surprise announcement by Costa to add a new category of short story to its roster, despite the balloon shrivelling in a follow up article the Costa short story prize is not enough, I remain an advocate of the short story form for many reasons. Here are but five.

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happycostawinners

Firstly, there is the variety of the form. Let’s face it, whether reading a linked theme or unlinked theme anthology by one author, or an anthology by many authors, the result is the same: unique voices, contrasting and often groundbreaking styles, a mishmash of characters entertaining a myriad genres from humour to horror - all under one cover. What better way to kill time on that train or bus commute to work than with a smile and a tear?

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Secondly, there is the size. Even though there are various shapes of short story - from flash fiction (anywhere from one hundred to two hundred and fifty words) to novella length stories (up to eight thousand words) - they all share one thing in common: economy of expression. No sentence is wasted. Every word counts. In today’s rushed society, reading or listening to a succinct yet poignant two thousand word story is an excellent way to relax in a snatched fifteen minute lunch break.

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Thirdly, there is the capturing of an important moment in time without sacrificing on attention to detail. Whether zooming in to (picture right of grains of sand magnified two hundred and fifty times) or zooming out to (picture above of a Wizard Nebula) upon finishing a good short story, something magical transpires: we become fascinated.

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Fourthly, there is the enigma contained within the simplicity of the short story. This is not to be confused with ease of writing. Shorts are a contrite servant to master. Authors see them as one step away from poetry; the public sees them as one step away from the novel. They are neither. The great short stories stay with us after reading and challenge our understanding on subsequent reads.

Lastly there are many markets for authors to hone their craft. Competing is human nature. Without competitions we would stand still. This is not to say readers cannot enjoy the fruits of short story writers’ labours. Many of the short story competitions have an internet presence as well as a printed presence, for example the Bridport Prize and Cinnamon Press to name but two.

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Surely short stories equal (if not surpass) the value for money of a novel? Spread the good word. The Short Story Is Great. Let’s keep it that way by purchasing short story anthologies, reading them, recommending them to our friends, buying them as presents for our families, and gifting them to our work colleagues.

What's New?

On May 4th 2013, I attend the innaugural Newcastle Writing Conference in The Great Hall, Nothumbria University. Stephen May's not a keynote speech is inspriational: “If you are a writer who doesn’t write, you will always be a bit miserable... write because you HAVE to.” And this quote got a resounding YES from the agents, editors and publishers present: “There is a secret to getting an agent. Write a good book, send it, wait. There are no secret passwords.”

Short story "Luke's Sketches" published by Cinnamon Press in the anthology "The Book of Euclid & other stories & poems" edited by Rowan B. Fortune.

Review of short story anthology "The Little Book of Northern Women" given thumbs up by the author J. Y. Saville.

Haiku "Flock to a Shepherd" shortlisted by Cathy Galvin and Louise Doughty for the Word Factory TV.

Article "Bagpuss" published by The Fine Line in the anthology "The I Word" edited by Kate Gould.

Short story "Plank, Tank, Sock, Gloves" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in December for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Be Prepared" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in August for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Luke's Sketches" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in May for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Flock to a Shepherd" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in February for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Review of "Life! Death! Prizes!" given thumbs up by the author Stephen May.

Short story "Fun and Games" shortlisted by New Writing North for the Newcastle Journal.

Review of "Dreamer's Cat" given thumbs up by the author Stephen Leather.

Review of "TAG" given thumbs up by the author Stephen May.

Short story "Shadow Pains" long listed for the Aeon Award competition.

Short story "Lessons in Love" long listed for the Aeon Award competition.

Short story "Saint Christopher" published by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Aim High, Reach Higher" shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Paper Dinosaur" shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Shepherd Thy Flock" won Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau spring competition.

Short story "Blackbeck" came third in Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau winter competition.