SARA MAITLAND on NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE
SEAN O'BRIEN on EDGAR ALLAN POE
JANE ROGERS on FYODOR DOSTOYEYSKY
BRIAN ALDISS on THOMAS HARDY
MARTIN EDWARDS on ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
FRANK COTTRELL BOYCE on ANTON CHEKHOV
ADAM ROBERTS on RUDYARD KIPLING
STEPHEN BAXTER on H.G. WELLS
STUART EVERS on SHERWOOD ANDERSON
ALI SMITH on JAMES JOYCE
TOBY LITT on FRANZ KAFKA
DAVID CONSTANTINE on D.H. LAWRENCE
ALISON MACLEOD on KATHERINE MANSFIELD
RAMSEY CAMPBELL on H.P. LOVECRAFT
SIMON VAN BOOY on F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
What makes for a good short story?
Being short, you might think the story's structure would yield an answer to this question more readily than, say, the novel. But for as long as the short story has been around, arguments have raged as to what it should and shouldn't be made up of, what it should and shouldn't do. Here ,15 leading contemporary practitioners offer structural appreciations of past masters of the form as well as their own perspectives on what the short story does so well.
The best short stories don't have closure, argues one contributor, 'because life doesn't have closure'; 'plot must be written with the denouement constantly in view,' quotes another. Covering a century of writing that arguably saw all the major short forms emerge, from Hawthorne's 'Twice Told Tales' to Kafka's modernist nightmares, these essays offer new and unique inroads into classic texts, both for the literature student and aspiring writer.