Short Stories

Writers are a funny bunch. Some novel writers avoid writing short stories. Some short story writers avoid writing novels.

After writing poetry and articles for a few years, I wanted to write fiction. So short stories seemed to be a natural step. I truly believed that you could only call yourself a writer when you are writing a short story. I became the fiction man. I wanted to write punchy five-minute short stories a P.A. can read during her coffee break or an elderly lady can consume with her afternoon tea and biscuits. 

Fiction is where it is. 

But, what genre should I write in?

By this time I reached 18 I read virtually all of Ian Fleming’s ‘Bond’ novels, Agatha Christie’s works including her poetry and romance novels under the name of Mary Wolstenholme, Edgar Wallace, and many other, mostly Penguin books, I managed to find in charity shops.

What I also enjoyed reading were the Hitchcock horror stories, and watching the Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits and Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. 

Genre … genre? What genre to write in?

Hmmm! Let me think.

I was only young. We didn’t have the Internet then. Or computers. Or super knowledgeable published writers. We were in the dark ages. They were coming to an end but they were dark. If you wanted writing knowledge and skills, you had to work for it. No Googling. It was trial and error with many trips to a public library and walking out with bags of borrowed books to read. Books on writing? Few, very few and they usually dated back a few decades, had pages missing and red writing on the others. 

No! These were the late sixties when the only shampoo for male hippies was washing-up liquid, when the only after-shave seemed to be Old Spice, later Brut, when the only way to learn how to write was to do it and put up with criticism; positive criticism hopefully, some criticism at the very least.

So it took me a few years to decide what genre I should write in – write what you read. Duh! Advice you can probably find in every self-help writing book now.

Once again, I have included a selection of my short stories for you to read. It will be good to get your feedback.

‘Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.’ - Stephen King