May is short story month, and it’s going to be a busy time here. For starters, the Fiction Writers Review has launched a Fiction Giveaway Project to help litbloggers promote the short story; I’m going to participate by giving away a copy of Alice Munro’s Too Much Happiness, one of the best collections I’ve read recently (giveaway details below). I’ll also be posting daily about a story, alternating between one of my own and one from someplace else (a collection, a magazine or journal, an on-line publication, etc.).
The first stories that I’ll be covering are from another Alice Munro collection, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. I’ll be looking at these stories from the perspective of a short story writer, taking a different aspect of each to highlight part of the craft of the story. Munro writes in the tradition of Chekhov: spare and focused stories that suggest much greater depth than is apparent from a surface reading. Hers is a style that lends itself especially well to the short story form, with its compression and economy; writers in any tradition would be well-served to think a bit about how she accomplishes so much in so few pages.
To be entered in the drawing for the “Too Much Happiness” giveaway, all you have to do is comment on one of the posts in the Short Story Month 2011 category. Note, though, that they have to be useful comments that advance the discussion at least a little bit: me-tooisms won’t count, but arguments, hints, suggestions, and outright dissensions will. I’ll select the winner at random on May 31, and make arrangements for the delivery of the book.
May is also when my book, Dad’s Eye View, is due to hit shelves. Though it’s not a story collection, it will still be generating a lot of activity, mostly on its own blog and Facebook page. So keep any eye on things there as well!