I think it’s a really interesting form. It has to be subtle with a bijou plot. My latest one, “Competition” was actually inspired by watching a cookery programme when I was at the gym.
I think they are also extremely subtle and the language can almost be like poetry. There often does have to be a certain amount of telling instead of showing, but there is still room for showing.
There is an “aha” moment. Sometimes it happens suddenly, sometimes it creeps up upon the reader. Sometimes it is the reader, sometimes the main character and sometimes both who have the sudden insight. It is only the reader in my latest two short stories.
Always – though I have come across one exception that worked well by one of my students – there is just one point of view.
Good short stories aren’t actually an easy read. They are a read so they are good for when you don’t have long to read – on public transport, last thing at night or over a cup of coffee. But they probably stay with you for a long time afterwards and you may spend many hours later mulling over what you have read.
They’re fairly literary – if you set aside those written for women’s magazines.
I guess it’s really this interest which has set me off on publishing short story anthologies for Bridge House Publications.