Short Stories

To read my short fiction, hover your cursor over the ‘short stories’ tab above, click, and it will take you to a selection of stories that have won awards in various writing competitions and / or being published.

Stay tuned for new stories. Like most short story writers, I’m always on the hunt for the latest writing competitions. Often a competition’s guidelines will stipulate that entries must not have been previously published, criteria that includes on-line publishing. Stories appearing on a writer’s blog are defined as ‘published.’ *

So the challenge for me is to win more awards so I can upload more stories!

A little about short story writing

 People often assume that short story writing is simply practice for when you eventually graduate to ‘the novel,’ the assumption being that novel writing is the superior skill, a somewhat misguided view, I think. Truth is that both genres demand a great deal from a writer: novel for the writer’s ability to keep  hold of the reins whilst taking the reader on a long (and hopefully fabulous) ride. Short story for it’s precision and economy and ability to rein in those words while turning the kaleidoscope lens to create a new perspective. No mean feat.

A major difference between the novel and short story is that a short story generally asks more of the reader.A short story must instantly pull the reader ~ there are no second chances, no space or time to muck about. With word limits of just 1000-5000 words, the reader is required to stay alert, keep their wits sharp while being plucked up, spun around and then placed down again in what is hopefully new territory. There can be no rest while reading a short story. There is art involved in the reading of  short stories, as much as is in writing them!

Angela Bennie’s says, in her review of Best Australian Stories 2010 selected and edited by Cate Kennedy: ‘As the editor of this year’s Best Australian Stories, Cate Kennedy, says in her introduction to the collection, “the short story is a miracle of compression and distillation”, one that cannot carry any “dead spots, chunky machinery or hairline fractures”.’

The reader dives in and is immediately immersed in the world conjured by the story, unlike the comparative leisurely pace of a novel. The short story demands a kind of brave giving-over of oneself, a trusting.Writing short stories, says Kennedy, requires a “highwire act of conjuring up a memorable, revelatory world in just a few pages”. 


So, our challenge as writers and readers of short fiction is to help restore short story writing to its rightful place on the literary shelf. A half hour before switching off the night light, or on route to work. And enjoy the ride!

*There are exceptions! Writers Victoria recently wavered the criteria for this exemption for the Grace Marion Wilson Award 2012. Hopefully more short story competitions will follow suit:

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