The revival of the short story

For too long, short stories have been seen as the ‘poor relation’ to full length novels. But at long last they are fighting back.

Earlier this year a collection of short stories by John Grisham topped the New York Times best seller list and publishers are finally beginning to give short story writers much more coverage in their catalogues.

Even some of the biggest names in spy novels; Lee Child and David Morrell, have been persuaded by their publisher to turn their hand to the short story format.

A few months ago one of the national Broadsheets ran an article about the resurgence of this much maligned format. It gave several reasons:

  • In an ever busier world, people seem have less and less time to sit down and read a 500 page novel. Short stories are ideal for a quick ‘literary snack.’
  • The massive success of electronic readers such as the best selling Amazon Kindle. These are ideal for downloading single short stories or collections to dip into on the bus or train or in your dinner break at work.
  • The modern phenomenon of shorter attention spans was also given as a factor. Whether its channel hopping, rushing a meal, or checking your blackberry messages during a conversation, people now want an instant ‘hit.’  Instant gratification. Short stories can provide this.

Writer, W.H.Fordham is Birmingham’s own successful exponent of both the short story format and the electronic reader craze.

Four of Fordham’s stories are now available for instant download from Amazon, with more due soon and a compilation planned for late next year.

Some modern examples of the short story, especially from the USA, tend to meander around mood and character with no specific or satisfying conclusion.

Fordham is more of an ‘old fashioned’ traditionalist for people who like a beginning middle and end; particularly an end with a twist or a surprise. Not always pleasant !

‘The Laughing Room’ feels like a happy go lucky, innocent romp between two fun loving newly weds.  Until you reach the unhappy finale with a chilling twist.

‘Paradise Lost’ is nothing to do with Milton’s epic poem.  It is an award winning story of a couple’s idyllic lifestyle, sailing around blue seas, palm trees, hidden coves and endless sunshine.    When the end comes, it is almost unbearably sad.

Daytime TV seems to have turned everyone onto collecting antiques, ‘The French Dresser’ will put you right off again.   It is another award winning story, described as; ‘Brilliant, clever and gripping: Fantastic story telling: Great suspense: Truly scary’: Don’t read this alone in your bedroom!

‘25, Chapel Lane’ is a Christmas tale about three young children carol singing on Christmas Eve. Doesn’t sound like much does it?  But the events that unfold during their journey and the following day fill the children with awe and the reader with the true spirit of Christmas; in more ways than one. Described by one reader as:  “A wonderful, wonderful Christmas story! Could not stop reading it. I utterly enjoyed it. Beautiful! Thank you!” And another reviewer even thinks it is; “Better than The Snowman.”

W.H.Fordham started writing in the 1970s with work seen in Television; Radio; Newspapers & Magazines around the world.

He is also an occasional songwriter and currently shares credits with Paul McCartney on an album released in the USA by a British Chart group.

He is a lapsed member of the RBSA. (Royal Birmingham Society Of Artists.) His work has been exhibited and he still holds ambitions to paint more seriously in the future.

In previous incarnations he has worked as a photographer, carpenter and a Theatre Stage Manager.(Where he was taught to play the piano by Victor Borge, amongst others.)

But right now, his passion is writing short stories and working hard to complete a compilation for release in 2012.