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Short Story Cheer

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

I was asked recently, “Are all of your short stories so sad?” I had to think for a moment, remembering back over all of the stories I have written in my lifetime. I had to admit the answer was “yes.” Right back to the first story I ever wrote at seven years old, “The Haunted Castle”. They haven’t been a cheery lot.

When I write stories, long or short, there is generally one thing I’m going for—an emotional tug, the moment when a reader thinks to themselves, Oh God, no. Don’t let that happen. I feel like I’m always pushing towards that tone, ever since I read one of my favorite all-time stories, The Ledge by Lawrence Sargent Hall, published in 1960. Throughout that story, you suspect the worst. There is foreboding in every sentence. You hope. You wonder.

I won’t give it away. Go read it here. I think it’s one of the finest stories ever written.

I'm afraid my stories thus far have been reaching for the same aesthetic (particularly the upcoming "Dive" in Levee magazine), but perhaps that is about to change. I have now completed a middle grade fantasy novel and it’s as full of magic and hope as you can get. I may have to set myself a goal for 2021 of writing a few short stories with the same sense of promise. The world needs a little more optimism right now.

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