Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Salt guide to the art of the short story

Next month sees publication by Salt of this book, edited by Vanessa Gebbie. I've contributed a chapter about the thorny subject of turning 'real life' into fiction, via a deconstruction of the creative processes in writing 'Condensed Metaphysics' (one of the stories in Balancing). Vanessa specifically asked me to write about this, and I did think twice about it - as you all probably know by now, I'm very wary of pointing out the real-life triggers of my writing, as I don't want to invite biographical readings of my stories as a whole: it's reductive and beside the point. But, in order to point out the dangers of doing so, I had written on this blog about the fact that I once made this mistake with this particular story, which led to its being published as reportage rather than the fiction it is. Vanessa had seen this post, and wanted me to elaborate. I just hope that the chapter underlines the fact that fiction is an indivisible meld of 'real life' and imagination, and doesn't solidify the story further as merely (and wrongly) autobiographical!

I'm very much looking forward to reading the other contributions: the contents list (below) looks exciting. I understand that Salt are looking into facilitating advance orders on their website.

Graham Mort: Finding Form in Short Fiction
Clare Wigfall interview: “I Hear Voices”: Voice, building character and much more
Alison MacLeod: Writing and Risk-Taking
Nuala Ni Chonchuir: Language and Style
Chika Unigwe: Settings. A Sense of Place.
Alex Keegan: ‘24’: The Importance of Theme.
Lane Ashfeldt: Building a World
Adam Marek: What my gland wants. Originality in short fiction.
Catherine Smith: Myth and Imagination.
Tobias Hill interview: Character, dialogue, and much more.
Sarah Salway: Stealing Stories.
Elizabeth Baines: True Story, Real Story – Good Fiction?
Marian Garvey: On Intuition. Writing into the Void.
Tania Hershman: Art Breathes from Containment. The power of the short short story.
David Gaffney: Get Shorty. The micro-fiction of Etgar Keret.
Elaine Chiew: Endings
Paul Magrs: Thoughts on Writing Fiction, at the End of Term
Vanessa Gebbie: i) Leaving the Door Ajar: On Opening the Short Story
Epilogue: Carys Davies, Zoe King, David Grubb, Linda Cracknell, Jay Merill, Matthew Licht.


Unknown said...

This is a book I'd really like to get; with lots of writers whose thoughts I'd love reading. Good on Vanessa for editing and Salt for publishing it. Another book for the ever-growing TBR pile!

Elizabeth Baines said...

Yes, I'm really looking forward to reading the thoughts of those other writers.