The spark for this long-lost flame has been my copy of Dzanc Books' Best of the Web 2010. While looking for some fresh reading material without taking a trip to the bookstore this weekend, I found it sitting on my shelf, brand new, corners unbent, spine uncreased. This monster of a volume scolded me for buying it months ago, only to almost immediately forget its existence. Shamed, I shoved it in my bag and declared it my day's reading. Within its pages, I discovered short gems of contemporary literary fiction. Writers I've heard of in magazines I've been rejected by. Writers I've never heard of in literary journals with unfamiliar names. Some spoke to me, others were forgettable. Some I could even finish, others I devoured. But through reading them, I was reminded of a fact that I should be painfully aware of, but choose to ignore for the most part: I don't read nearly enough short stories. For someone who wants to write (and does) literary short stories, my reading tastes tend to run in the opposite direction.
So in an effort to rectify this and to celebrate my rekindled spark, I am declaring August "Short Story Month" here in Happy Writing Land! What this means for me is threefold:
- I must read at least two short stories every day in August. They can come from any source I wish. Any author. Any genre.
- I must blog about at least one of the stories I read each day. That means 31 new posts in August minimum. Ideally, I will discuss elements of the stories that drew me in and what did or didn't work for me. But naturally, it is just going to depend of what it is that I end up reading and how it appealed to me.
- I must write a minimum of 500 words of a short story of my own OR a complete flash piece of less than 500 words each day. I will attempt to use prompts for this and post the prompts used here on the blog, but won't deny inspiration if it comes from an unexpected place.
So to recap that means I will be reading a minimum of 62 stories, writing 31 new blog posts, and writing approximately 15,500 words dedicated exclusively to short stories. Aside from this new project, I do intend to continue editing my novel, so don't think I am going to use the month of August for slacking off in that department.
Now, I don't want to keep all the fun to myself, so I plan to do at least 3 giveaways throughout the month -- maybe more! So stick around and join me on my short story journey!
Happy Short Story Month!