29 August 2013

Just Enough

Traveler through Darkness available HERE
By Fierce Dolan 

Short stories are an under-appreciated art in post-postmodern literature. It isn't that we don't know how to write them well; rather, we don't know how to honor their brevity. Ironic in a drive-through microwave culture, that, as I often hear readers say they don't enjoy short stories because they aren't long enough. It isn't that they aren't compelling, aren't as well-developed as their longhaul cohorts, or don't accomplish as much in significantly less pages. Short fiction often loses out because we want more.
Enjoying something so much as to want an extra scoop is a great problem to have. I'm curious, though, is it that short stories are too brief, or is there a deeper, more provocative reason that they get under our skin?
I think a well-written short story pushes us to actively participate more in the plot progression, to engage more emotionally and psychologically than most novels do. Without flowery prose to gently seduce us, starkness forces us bare, raw, and receptive to bring more of ourselves to the table, without preamble, without presupposition. As well, they end with us breathless, panting, craving more--because every encounter that truly sates instills deeper want.That's part of what makes them so powerful.
Literarily speaking, with short stories, we have to be ready for the good stuff--juicy, unabashed movement--from the hook, on. Posthaste we get down and dirty, rubbing against exactly what we need right there, between the words, among the undercurrents. For that reason, short stories require faith in the moment, without fretting what comes next. We have to be willing to give ourselves over to that momentum and trust wherever it takes us.
I love short stories. To me they are poetry's deep sigh. I love them so much that throughout my college writing curriculum, I was devoted to perfecting them as my form of choice. That's why I enjoy Decadent's The Edge series. For one, they are sexy as hell, and they bring it, every time.
So yes, the short form requires more of a commitment, a leap of faith. Risk it. Dive into the fling, knowing the foreplay and after-cuddling are on you to provide. 

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  1. I really like a short read. After making it through book 1 of Game of Thrones, I can honestly say I'll never read another tome. Seriously. My sweet spot when I read is less than 60 pages. I like it short. I like it hot. I have other things to do in my life besides read scenic description and character development. Can you tell doors just don't open fast enough for me? :)

  2. For me, it really depends on what I'm in the mood for. Sometimes I really crave the short story with an quick, satisfying ending, and other times, I want a longer ride with the characters before I get that satisfaction. Though, Epic novels are a struggle for me to get through.

  3. My preferred format is the novella (75-150 pages). But I like short stories too. Sometimes is very satisfying to sit down and finish something quickly. Really long books that go on and on? Even if they're GOOD, it's hard to maintain my interest that long.

  4. Great post. I'm a huge fan of short stories. These days my reading time is so much restricted. So I look out for stories I can read in one sitting. If I have to put a book down, the likelihood is that I won't pick it up again for a long time.