My first book, Sandcastle and Other Stories, was published by Green Darner Press—please check out the beautiful paperback they created; it’s perfect for all readers from your literary hound to suspense junkies, thriller chillers, New Yorker types, down to high school short story lovers—and the responses I received over the past two years were energizing and humbling at the same time. I hope everyone reading the stories enjoys them as much as I enjoyed writing each one.
Short Fiction is a tougher sell than genre novels. I hear this from good friends: “I don’t read short stories, Justin.” I am thrilled that Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature as a short story writer. Some of her short stories encompass entire lives, worlds.
A little part of me winces whenever someone says they don’t enjoy reading shorter tales—there’s always an easy excuse why they don’t enjoy something so singular, striking in its brevity. Why don’t more people read poetry too? Similar reasons. The statement is true though, and fewer people are reading overall. Bookstores are closing, or moving into smaller spaces as rents begin to rise.
I worked in bookstores long enough to know very few people buy short story collections. These books have to be hand sold. (But even the people who don’t like reading short stories love to be entertained so they may choose a different entertainment platform, say, a film, or a television show, a sporting event, or a concert.)
What is a film? Dare I say a film is only a short story—a condensed version of a novel. Usually most film adaptations aren’t as good as the book or source material. Here are a few exceptions, but short stories as source material for feature films always interests me. Brokeback Mountain was based on a short story by Annie Proulx, and Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay. The Killers was filmed to great success, and came from a very good Hemingway short. Original screenplays only start with a single idea. Those are usually the ones taking all the risks and are the most original.
Take a curious idea and give it voice, tighten the prose; construct your paragraphs and allow the characters to go where they want to go. Play that idea out as succinctly as possible — make each word count, give it weight, and a terrific short story may be born. I read a short story each night, and have been doing this for a very long time. Most collections have ten stories in them, like my own. So, that’s ten nights of reading. After I read the short story I dig into a good book.
If you love short stories, or even if you don’t, please tell me why. Who are your favorite writers of short tales? I read all genres. If writers can master the art of the short story, then they are ready to shoot for a longer work, stretch out their narratives, give their characters some meat to eat to last a whole season, or maybe even just one day.
To purchase Sandcastle and Other Stories, please click this link HERE. The link will take you to my Amazon Author Page. While there please take a look at my first Green Darner Press novella, a psychological thriller, The Conversationalist. You can also choose to download a Free Sample, which includes the opening of the first story, The Virtue of Minding Your Own Business. While at Amazon, please hit the Like button. This is a nice way to show support for your favorite authors. If the collection hits you well, please consider writing a review at the Amazon book page, and let me know what you think.
This painting is by my father, George Bogdanovitch, and his art, along with my late mother’s art (the cover of The Conversationalist is one of my mom’s paintings), can be seen by clicking HERE.
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