The Blog

John Abbott: Short Stories Are Exciting Challenges

World on a String

photo credit: Ken Bosma

I read short stories because they entertain and because they can give insight into how we live our lives. I write short stories because each one offers up its own world. I love the challenge each one presents. I write novels and poems, too, but the short story is more demanding than either of those forms, because, unlike in a novel, each word must mean something, move the story forward in some meaningful way. There is little room for meandering in a short story, yet some stories offer the expansiveness of a novel without the time commitment.

Whenever I’m in between writing short stories, or even when I’m at work on a novel, I feel a bit lost.

Many stories, especially flash fiction, lean toward the lyric beauty of poetry but without the advantage of line breaks to enhance the imagery or provide pause or purposeful ambiguity. Whenever I’m in between writing short stories, or even when I’m at work on a novel, I feel a bit lost. There are so many possibilities to explore that I feel compelled to try out as many as I can, regardless of how they turn out. I feel the same way about finding new authors to read. There’s something both exciting and troubling about the fact that I’ll never be able to read all the stories I want or write all the stories I want.

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About John Abbott

John Abbott is a writer, musician, and English instructor. His stories and poems have appeared in literary journals such as The Potomac Review, Georgetown Review, upstreet, Chiron Review, Underground Voices, Fast Forward: A Collection of Flash Fiction and many others. He is also the author of a novel, a story collection, and a poetry collection. He lives with his wife and daughter in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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