What makes a short story sweet?

Short fiction. Concise, pointed, generally fast-paced. But what makes short fiction Short & Sweet as opposed to just plain Short? I’ve read quite a cross section of short fiction throughout my years of primary school, high school, personal reading and now university. And quite miserably, for every good short piece of fiction that I’ve enjoyed, I’ve had to endure approximately five terrible pieces. The art of short fiction is apparently one in its own right and those who think you can just cut a chapter out of a novel have yourself a short story are very, very wrong. Short stories require quite a bit of coy plotting for although it may not take as long to write and think up as a five hundred page fantasy novel, you have little room for whinnying your way around to the point. You have to get there. Fast. But still with enough padding that you can call it literature as opposed to an assembly of dot points. 

So, that all said, what are your thoughts on short fiction and what makes it good? What do you like to read and what do you think a writer has to do to serve this genre well? 

Just because you have auto-correct now, doesn’t mean you can forsake good grammar.

Facebook doesn’t care if you’re responsible with your apostrophes so long as you post as many inane and pointless status updates as possible. The only punctuation mark that Twitter cares about is its godforsaken hash tag. The YouTube rappersphere doesn’t even adhere to basic spelling; it’s all about dis, dat and da next thang. And finally, and possibly the most devastatingly, the age-old art of letter writing (now known as texting), has been transformed into a terrifying amalgamation of shorthand (e.g. “where r u?”) and auto-correct, rendering the smart phone-wielding population just plain bloody useless. 

There is however, a basic necessity for good grammar and I need only give you one example: 

  • Let’s eat Grandma.
  • Let’s eat, Grandma. 

Commas save lives. Use them. (Correctly, please.)

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What are your New Year’s Literary Resolutions?

Do you know what I only just realised? It’s the 1st of February already and I haven’t even made a list of books to read in 2013! Well, I’ve started one now after just about punching myself in the face for my own stupidity. I deserve it. But, let’s move on, shall we?

Tell me! What paperback novels, hardback plays, collections of essays, intriguing biographies, dirty memoirs or non-fiction investigations haunt your to-read list for this year? My list is so far short because I’m determined to ensure that every single title that earns a spot on it is worthy of my very time-poor attention.

On my Books to Read in 2013, I’ve featured titles that have caressed my current obsession with adventure journalism, the third world, media-fueled changed and incredible feats of writing. While since the wee age of eleven I’ve pranced around with the notion in my airy-fairy head that I’m the next Meryl Streep, about a dozen epiphanies as of late have culminated in a redirection of my passions and talents…the writing world. But neither novels nor plays for let’s just be frank here: plotting is not my forte. But rather of the creative non-fiction sort, investigating those cobwebbed corners of the globe, splattering the world with my uncoordinated footsteps and writing about the people, the places, the ideas and the change that I see and possibly even one day orchestrate. This is why the four books on my list all feature either journalism or travel.

I am still eager to hear your own reading resolutions, however, whether they be academic, for the purpose of guilty pleasure or just because no one can not love Harry Potter. What are you reading? Oh, and if you have any recommendations for me, fire away, friends!

The Big Wet: A Survival Guide

Australia is known for its sun, its surf, its beaches, its hot, sticky weather and its laid-back ‘have a beer’ attitude. When you visualize the iconic Queensland coast, you don’t usually conjure images of cyclonic monsoon weather, flooded roads or fallen power lines. Nor do you usually imagine a bleak, grey view from your window or a wet and chilly breeze in the middle of what is supposed to be summer. But, if for some unfathomable reason, this is the picture that flashed before your mind’s eye upon hearing the word ‘Australia’ then right now you would actually be correct…

The rains have arrived. And apparently, with a vengeance. Much of the state of Queensland (known ironically as ‘the sunshine state’) is currently watching Mother Nature throw an almighty tantrum. Homes and businesses are being pummeled with rain, wind and flying debris; roads have been flooded and apparently…this is only the beginning of what is predicted to be a long weekend of natural disasters. In short, Australia is a very wet and soggy country right now. 

I send my love and hope to all of those who’ve already lost their homes and businesses or are trapped in severe flood waters. To those of you who are simply trapped indoors by the rain and the weather warnings, I have one fundamental piece of advice: don’t be an imbecile; stay inside. “It’s boring!” you say? “What can I do?” you ask? Well, thankfully for you, I’ve prepared a little indoor inspiration to keep you safe, dry and thoroughly entertained as the rains sweep the nation!

BEVERAGES & BOOKS

  1. Grab a cup or mug of anything steaming and sweet.
  2. Grab a book.
  3. Get cozy, get comfy, get on that couch!

And, voila! In all seriousness, what more do you need?

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Blind Date With a Book

Loyal readers! I stumbled across a very neat concept today on the site Tumblr and thought I’d share it with you! 

Blind date

“My local library branch started doing this “Blind Date with a Book” thing, thought you guys might like it. The shelf was full when we got there, but was like this as we were leaving. The books are wrapped in paper and have different designs on them, and then a few words vaguely describing the subject matter of the book. Things like “Drama”, “Plot Twists”, “espionage”, etc. The only thing exposed on the book is the barcode that you use to scan the book out. I thought it was a pretty cool idea.”