When perusing the capacious commentary of fiction writers on writing, the tireless researcher will find to his or her dismay a glut of contradicting advice on what makes a terrific short story, and how exactly to construct such a tale.
Most writers, however, seem to agree that mastering the onerous short story form requires a plucky soul able to quickly address the exigent need to engross the reader in a pithy narrative while maintaining laser like word precision–not an easy task to be certain.
Even the father of the modern short story, Andre Chekhov, lauded for his stoic and objective prose that nevertheless had the capability of educing poignancy, admitted his fear of not being read for more than seven years following his death.
Since then sundry new writers have added their pen markings to the contentious debate over the short story form while disagreement rages on about what constitutes good fiction, what is the ultimate purpose of writing fiction and how a writer should approach a given subject in a narrative.
A new anthology Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story, assembled by The Paris Review, poses these questions to 20 experts on the art of writing short fiction, asking them to choose their favorite short stories from the literary magazine’s canonical cache that dates back 60 years–and compose a corresponding introduction for their selection.
In celebration of the anthology’s recent release, Paris Review editor Lorin Stein and deputy editor Sadie Stein will travel to San Francisco for a discussion on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:00 pm at Tosca Cafe in North Beach that will also include readings from local writers Daniel Alarcón and Peter Orner.