Looks like it’s not just me who finds short stories difficult! Excellent letter from John Steinbeck on the subject. Forgive the lack of my own posts in the last few days, by the way…I will be back in the swing in a week or so. 🙂


“I have written a great many stories and I still don’t know how to go about it except to write it and take my chances.”

In 1963, John Steinbeck revealed his conviction that there was no magic formula for writing a good short story but that the work must first be created and then judged on its merits. Has anything change?

Dear Writer:

Although it must be a thousand years ago that I sat in a class in story writing at Stanford, I remember the experience very clearly. I was bright-eyes and bushy-brained and prepared to absorb the secret formula for writing good short stories, even great short stories. This illusion was canceled very quickly. The only way to write a good short story, we were told, is to write a good short story. Only after it is written can it be taken apart to see how it was done…

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