They say you need to read if you want to write. And once you’ve gotten serious about writing, you’ll find reading is a different experience. I certainly notice details I didn’t before: the moments when the story turns, the way the clock gets reset, the way an author “looks” around the room, shows you what you need to see. Because I’m a bit stuck on dialogue at the moment, I am more attuned to what made it to dialogue versus what stayed in paragraph from.
Have you noticed, though, that when the writing is really great, it’s harder to detach yourself from it? Really great writing has a way of catching you up and sweeping you away. I find it a bit tougher to tease a great story apart – I often need a re-read or two to really get at what’s happening in a story.
It’s really something to emerge from a story and realize, wow! That was so well done, so well crafted, that I couldn’t see the seams!
If you haven’t signed up for Electric Literature, you must. It’s a free (fingers crossed it can stay that way!) curated short story delivered to your inbox every week, just in time to refuel your creativity. The stories are all genres, all lengths. They come from writers all around the world, most living but some not. Many of the stories are recommended by other writers or editors who have long histories in the industry and can help explain why this story resonates.
Here are some of my favourites: Diane Cook’s Man V. Nature, a simple yet deeply devastating piece on friendship and Deathwinked by Vedran Husic, a beautiful and chilling story, also about the nature of men.
Their entire archive is here. Dive in! See if you can see the seams.