Write a short story every week …
A tall tale told short …
I am sure most of you will be familiar with Roald Dahl’s collections of short stories. Many of these stories were adapted for television and featured in the TV series Tales of the Unexpected which aired between 1979 and 1988.
Dahl himself provided a brief introduction to each episode.
In ‘Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat‘ he gave an insight into his writing process …
“This is a play about a very expensive mink coat. The original story is quite short. But I’m such a ridiculously slow writer that it took me something like 5 months to get the thing finished which is more than 600 working hours. That probably sounds a bit silly to you. In trying to work the plot out properly I took so many wrong turnings and went up so many blind alleys I nearly went crazy. Don’t forget a short-story writer is working in miniature and he can’t afford to splash his paint all over the canvas. He has to be extremely precise. I find it very difficult.”
Edna O’Brien …
Edna O’Brien (born 15 December 1930) is an award-winning Irish novelist, memoirist, playwright, poet and short story writer. Philip Roth has described her “the most gifted woman now writing in English”, while former President of Ireland Mary Robinson has cited her as “one of the great creative writers of her generation.” Her first novel Country Girls was published in 1960 and her latest,The Little Red Chairs, in 2015.
She gave an nterview in 1984 to the Paris Review for their Art of Fiction series and spoke briefly about her writing routine.
“When I am working I write in a kind of trance, longhand, in these several copybooks. I write in the morning because one is nearer to the unconscious, the source of inspiration. I never work at night because by then the shackles of the day are around me, what James Stephens (author of The Crock of Gold) called “That flat, dull catalogue of dreary things that fasten themselves to my wings,” and I don’t sit down three hundred and sixty-five days a year because I’m not that kind of writer. I wish I were!
I get up in the morning, have a cup of tea, and come into this room to work. I never go out to lunch, never, but I stop around one or two and spend the rest of the afternoon attending to mundane things. In the evening I might read or go out to a play or a film, or see my sons.”
And in 2007 she was a featured author in the Guardian’s Writers Rooms series.
“The clock does not tick or chime, which suits me perfectly since I cannot bear noise of any description when I am writing
I write by hand. I do not understand how people can arrive at even a flicker of creativity by means of a computer.”